Book Review: The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah

The Great Alone

The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Great Alone is one of those emotionally-driven novels that will have you tearing through it like a VW bus careening over icy roads, hungry to know how everything will turn out for the memorable characters that Hannah weaves into this wilderness tale set in 1970s Alaska. Even though several of the characters edge hard into archetype, she breathes such detail into them that they feel real despite it. (And as we all know, some people really are living breathing archetypes… so hey.) While the book spans a multigenerational struggle against patterns of domestic violence and definitely mediates on the ways the wild works on us as human beings, the true shining gem of the novel is the love story at its core. A great read for those who want an emotionally dramatic story that is both harrowing and satisfying by the end.

View all my reviews

Book Review: My Sister’s Keeper by Jodi Picoult

My Sister's KeeperMy Sister’s Keeper by Jodi Picoult
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

My Sister’s Keeper is melodrama done well, with a side of interesting ethical quandaries. The premise itself is the book’s biggest strength–should a young woman who was born for the purpose of being a blood and organ donor to her leukemia-stricken sister be allowed medical emancipation from her parents, even if it’s at the cost of her sister’s life? It’s fascinating and emotionally taxing territory to ponder. This is the chess board upon which Jodi Picoult plays her pieces: characters who have exaggerated, caricature-like personalities but also moving, true inner dialogues that almost make up for it. Some of the plot conveniences are certainly too convenient to be believed, but they create a resulting environment of heightened emotion that sets Picoult up to spike her best moments right into reader’s hearts. While elements of the story itself were overwrought, certain truths about parenthood, sisterhood, and human rights get explored along the way, and make this novel worth the quick read.

View all my reviews