The Impossible Knife of Memory by Laurie Halse Anderson | Book Review

Pages: 391

Genre: young adult, mental illness – ptsd

Synopsis

For the past five years, Hayley Kincain and her father, Andy, have been on the road, never staying long in one place as he struggles to escape the demons that have tortured him since his return from Iraq. Now they are back in the town where he grew up so Hayley can attend school. Perhaps, for the first time, Hayley can have a normal life, put aside her own painful memories, even have a relationship with Finn, the hot guy who obviously likes her but is hiding secrets of his own.

Will being back home help Andy’s PTSD, or will his terrible memories drag him to the edge of hell, and drugs push him over? The Impossible Knife of Memory is Laurie Halse Anderson at her finest: compelling, surprising, and impossible to put down.

My thoughts

Rating out of five: two stars

It’s very possible to put down this book. The number of pages should be half of what it is. It had enough interesting moments for me to see if the ending would be as bad, only to find it was the worst part.

This book is aimed at middle graders, even though it’s marketed as young adult. It gives an insight to a girl – seventeen year old Hayley – dealing with her dad’s PTSD from being a war veteran. She never has a normal A4 life and only is to attend school the year before being supposed to go to college. Hayley lacks in maturity, something that gives for a very annoying inner voice narrating the story, while she’s always acting like the adult in her house and good at crises management. Like extremely good, she saves her father again and again, in gradually less realistic ways, until the book loses its suspense of belief on my part. I truly hated the wrapped-up ‘happily ever after’ ending as well, just because it didn’t match anything happening in the story and felt so very unrealistic.

There’s so many ways this book could’ve been better, because it tries to bring awareness to a very bad living situation with a girl under a lot of pressure, and a dad suffering with ptsd, not getting the help he needs. Still, I wouldn’t recommend this book, there has to be better ones out there with similiar topics.

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