Monday, January 27, 2014

Review: The Impossible Knife of Memory by Laurie Halse Anderson

Summary (courtesy of Goodreads):  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 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.

And here's what I thought:  I had really been looking forward to reading this book, since I've enjoyed all of this author's other books --- and this one was no exception.    Laurie Halse Anderson tackles a subject that I think is really important, and did it in a way that really made an impression on me.  I think a of the time, the focus on PTSD is on the people who are suffering from it -- but what about the people who love them?   I thought this book had a great main character with Hayley, who is realistic, and has a good sense of humor (and herself, which was nice).   There are a lot of sympathetic characters here, and even though I sometimes got a little frustrated with them, I found I felt invested in their individual stories.  This book isn't just about Hayley, but it's about her dad, as well (and also about Finn, and the family issues he has).

One of the things I always enjoy about Anderson's books is that her characters aren't perfect -- they are realistic.  Which means they might make mistakes, or mis-steps along the way.  And I guess for me, that's what makes her characters interesting, and makes me care about what happens to them.

First lines:  It started in detention.  No surprise there, right?

Detention was invented by the same idiots who dreamed up the time-out corner.  Does being forced to sit in time-out corner.  Does being forced to sit in time-out ever make little kids stop putting cats in the dishwasher or drawing on white walls with purple marker?  Of course not.  It teaches them to be sneaky and guarantees that when they get to high school they'll love detention because it's a great place to sleep.


Kate @Midnight Book Girl said...

I want to read this! Her writing is so good and I love the subjects she tackles in her books.

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