Monday, January 19, 2015

Review: The Impossible Knife of Memory

“The Impossible Knife of Memory,” by Laurie Halse Anderson. The Goodreads summary:
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.
I really like Laurie Halse Anderson’s books, at least those that I’ve read so far. I like how she doesn’t shy away from difficult topics. I mean, I enjoy light and fluffy as much as the next person, but sometimes I need a book that feels a little more honest. And Anderson’s books are definitely brutally honest.

I’m actually not sure how to really go about writing a review for this book. So much of the story revolves around Hayley’s dad’s PTSD and how it affects pretty much every aspect of their lives. It was just so intense and painful to read about that I don’t know how to review that aspect of it. So that only really leaves me with Hayley’s other relationships to talk about.

Her best friend, Gracie, was one of those types of friends that crop up in YA, where I’m just like, “Why are you even friends with this person?” I can sympathize with Gracie for having her own screwed up home life, but she and Hayley never really seemed to have any actual friend chemistry.

Hayley’s relationship with Finn was pretty adorable, though. I was just so glad that Hayley found someone in her pretty crappy life that made her happy. Finn was just so . . . buoyant. Whenever Hayley tried to push him down or keep him away he just bounced right back up. I did feel like the author tried a little too hard to give Finn complicated family drama; it just always felt a little forced and not like a real part of the story.

Hayley’s relationship with Trish was one that I wish we could’ve spent more time on. It just had so much potential. As Hayley’s dad’s stateside girlfriend, Trish was never supposed to be Hayley’s mother figure, but then she was . . . until she just walked away, for which Hayley understandably has never forgiven her. And though I feel like Anderson did a good job with their relationship in the time allotted to it as a secondary part of the plot, I wish more time could’ve been spent there because the dynamics fascinated me.

Hayley herself was so strong, if a little rough around the edges and abrasive. Her situation seems impossible, but she deals with it in the best way she knows how. It was hard to watch her constantly push people away and keep them out, but it just made those times she does let people in all the more satisfying for the reader.

Overall, like Anderson’s other books I’ve read, this one was intense but worth the read.

Rating: 3.5 / 5

1 comment:

  1. Urgh I really can't stand the "why are you even friends" character. They seem to crop up everywhere in YA and it infuriates me. This sounds like a really complex book. After reading so typical YA fluff I could use a book like this.


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