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The Impossible Knife of Memory
The Impossible Knife of Memory
Author: Laurie Halse Anderson
For the past five years, Hayley Kincaid 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 as...  more »
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ISBN-13: 9780147510723
ISBN-10: 0147510724
Publication Date: 6/2/2015
Pages: 416
  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.

3.5 stars, based on 3 ratings
Publisher: Speak
Book Type: Paperback
Other Versions: Hardcover, Audio CD
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reviewed The Impossible Knife of Memory on + 380 more book reviews
Laurie Halse Anderson always manages to take difficulty material and weave together unforgettable stories. She's one of those author's that you know you are getting an excellent read from. The Impossible Knife of Memory is a must read, in spit of the heartache that it may cause in parts.

Hayley is attempting to keep her father together. After tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, he suffers from PTSD. His nightmares have led him to attempt to cope by doing drugs and drinking. This has made life difficult for Hayley. To make matters more difficult, she has been enrolled in school for the first time in six years and no one seems to be understanding the hard time she is having coping. The only thing that seems to be helping her out is her boyfriend Finn and her best friend Gracie. How is Hayley going to manage?

My thoughts:
Well, I think it's obvious by my opening statement that I really enjoyed this novel. Hayley has a strong voice that holds several layers. She is snarky and sarcastic, but at the same time she is strong and caring. She takes on the roles of an adult way before her time. It is heatbreaking to watch everything Hayley tries so hard to protect begin to crumble, but it's also nice to see that there are help when you let people in. This once again proves that Laurie Halse Anderson is one of the YA greats.
ophelia99 avatar reviewed The Impossible Knife of Memory on + 2527 more book reviews
I got an advanced reading copy of this book to review through the Amazon Vine program. This wasnt the best book I have read by Halse Anderson. It was still engaging and very just felt a bit unfocused and scattered.

Hayley Kincaid and her father, Andy, have been on the road while Andy makes a living as a truck driver for the last five years or so. Andy has decided they should settle down in his hometown and that Hayley should try to lead a normal high school teenage life. Andy has severe PTSD after doing tours of duty in both Afghanistan and Iraq and is struggling with drinking, drugs, and anger that is making his life, and Hayleys, very tough.

While Hayley is the main focus of the story the story also deals a lot with all the issues her friends are facing. Finn, her boyfriend, is dealing with family issues of his own. Hayleys best friend is also struggling through lots of trouble with her family. Pretty much all of the characters in here have home lives that are a complete disaster. This book makes family disaster seem like the norm rather than the exception. In my experience most kids have decent people for parents and I hope that this book isnt showing the new norm. I also hate the kids reading it would think that all of this is normal.

Anyway...following all these different characters really draws the story away from Hayley. It almost makes it like what she is dealing with with her dad isnt a ton worse than what all her friends are dealing with. All of this kind of defocused the story and drew attention away from the main issue. It makes the characters sloppier and I thought it made for a more scattered story.

The other problem I had with this book is that given all the real life drama I felt like things are tied up maybe a bit too conveniently and neatly at the end of it all. Things were a bit too happy happy and the ending didnt really fit well with the rest of the story.

Thats not to say this isnt a good read. It deals with a lot of issues facing families and teens today. It was interesting to read about a character with PTSD and how that affects a family. There are some good points brought up about how fast soldiers are expected to adjust from wartime to family time. Basically sometimes they are with their families a couple days after being in a war zone. I have a friend at work who was working through this with her husband. He had a lot of trouble dealing with their young son after coming back from a couple years in Iraq, his son was four and didnt know his father.

The story is very engaging and I breezed right through it. It is still a story that evokes a lot of emotion, I just didnt feel completely drawn into it like I have with previous Halse Anderson books.

Overall a good book, but not Halse Andersons best. This deals with some interesting issues, but the story is a bit scattered. Instead of focusing on one character it focuses on many and I felt like this made the story kind of sloppy. Still, it was an engaging read and I would recommend to those who love young adult contemporary fiction.