Author: Laurie Halse Anderson
Publication Date: 01/07/2014
Genre: Contemporary, Romance, Realistic Fiction
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.
Summary from Goodreads
This was So. GOOD! From the very start I fell in love with Hayley's wit and sarcasm which helped me to really feel for her situation. This is the second book I've ever read involving PTSD in a war veteran and it still blows my mind how much these guys (and gals) really suffer when trying to get back to their home lives. I wish that our government supported them more and offered more help, if anyone deserves it they do.
The story sped by as I turned the pages with an urgency I only get when a book catches my attention, heart, and soul. The characters that make up the book all have their own family issues that they are trying to deal with; divorce, drugs, money problems, you name it. It's a lot of heaviness for teenagers to have to deal with and I was happy that the author kept it realistic by showing their anger and their feelings of unfairness in it all. While Hayley's story does wrap up in the end we don't find out much about how Gracie and Finn's families cope with their issues, which is one thing I wish was different.
The Impossible Knife of Memory proved to be an intense, gritty, true to life story. It played with my emotions and brought tears to my eyes. It brings up the pain of watching a parent spiral down the drain, of having to be the adult when you should be the kid. But the message of hope was my favorite part and while some may believe the ending was not on point with the rest of the story, I thought it was perfect.
I really enjoyed Anderson's writing style and plan on looking into her other books, though the emotions that they stir may require plenty of time between reads.