The Impossible Knife of Memory: Review



Blurb from Goodreads:

“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.”


First of all, I like the cover, it’s attention-grabbing and unique. Unfortunately, the same couldn’t be said for the book. I realize PTSD in returning soldiers is a really challenging topic and it has gained much attention in the news recently. However, this book doesn’t make me empathize, or feel Hayley’s or Andy’s pain and the problems they go through. Hayley’s thoughts and beliefs are understandable and I could relate to them to a certain extent but she was just so apathetic. I thought this book would be heart-wrenching and poignant and all that but it was just kind of dull. And their texting was just ridiculous, I have never seen a fellow teenager text like that. It was quite painful to read. 


Finn Ramos, Hayley’s love interest, was ok. His mom is apparently a “kick-ass feminist” but he ogles other girls’ butts while talking to another and he follows the “Man Code.” I’m maybe probably being a little too hard on him, but still. He was cute, but he didn’t make me swoon. Their romance was pretty undeveloped and contrived. They were apparently perfect for each other according to their friends, but I just didn’t see it. It was kind of bland, despite their problems arising from dealing with problems in their families. They just keep talking and kissing. 


I guess this book was well-written in the way that I liked that she gave us more insight into Andy’s memories and history through the flashbacks. I did feel a twinge of panic when Hayley had a panic attack and at the end when *SPOILER ALERT* her father was at the quarry. I’ve read one of Laurie Halse Anderson’s other books, Speak, and I thought it was pretty good. I think I’ll still try reading some of her other works. 

Overall: 3 Stars and not worth the hype


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