Happy November! Well…I suppose its December now. A couple great books for this month!
The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah
This book reminded me of a cross between The Line That Held Us (the gorgeous but solitary landscape with “rough and tumble” characters) and As Bright As Heaven (historical fiction with a female coming-of-age story). The story takes place in the mid to late 1970’s and is narrated by a teenager named Leni who, along with her parents, moves to the sparsely populated Alaskan bush to escape life on the mainland and live off the land. Her father is abusive, suffering from PTSD from the war in Vietnam, and she struggles to protect her mother while also falling in love with a boy who is the son of her father’s rival, which proves to be dangerous. This story was super sad, constantly giving you hope but then taking it away. It was hard not to be annoyed at the incredibly stupid decisions some of these characters made, though I suppose the novel would have been a lot shorter if they had made better ones. This book got rave reviews, and I can definitely understand why as the writing is beautiful and the story, although heartbreaking, was captivating and sticks with you. While I may not agree with others that this is a 5-star “best book I’ve ever read”, I definitely agree that its wonderful and I’d suggest reading it!
A Ladder to the Sky by John Boyne
I see John Boyne, I buy. Its that simple! I didn’t expect this to live up to The Heart’s Invisible Furies, but I definitely was looking forward to Boyne’s wonderful storytelling style, and was not disappointed! The novel follows a man named Maurice Swift and his one ambitious desire to become the greatest writer of his generation…at any cost possible. Maurice is a classic sociopath and uses everyone around him as a means to his desired end. The novel is narrated by some of these people for some sections, and by Maurice himself for the last few sections, and follows his life from when he was a young man through to his older adult years. Boyne captures the mind and actions of a sociopathic person extremely accurately. He truely does not comprehend that the things he does are wrong and has no remorse for them whatsoever. The chapters narrated by his wife are probably the most anger inducing and sad. As always, I love the way Boyne writes and will never get tired of reading chapter after chapter of his books. While this may not be as heartwarming as The Heart’s Invisible Furies, I would still highly suggest this! Its a fairly quick read too…took me just 2 days to get through.