Title: The Impossible Knife of Memory
Author: Laurie Halse Anderson
Publisher: Viking Juvenile
Release Date: January 7, 2014
Source: ARC from Publisher
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 town where he grew up so Hayley can attend school. Perhaps, for the first time, Hayley can have a normal life, put aside her 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'll be the first to admit that the only book of Laurie Halse Anderson's that I've read prior to this, was Speak. After hearing so much about her and her books, I put a lot of expectations on The Impossible Knife of Memory and it paid off, because this was a really special story.
Hayley Kincaid hasn't had what you would call a traditional childhood. But for the past five years, normal meant travelling across the country with her veteran father as he attempts to run away from the memories of war that haunt him. Now that Hayley is about to start her senior year of high school, though, her father decides that she should go back to a regular high school to increase her dances of getting into college. But moving back home means that her dad's episodes are more frequent and Hayley starts to feel like she's becoming the parent. And at school there's Finn, the hot geeky guy who likes her, but has his own troubles to deal with. Will Hayley be able to let go of the memories that haunt her before it's too late for her to really live her life?
Like I've already admitted, the only other book by Laurie Halse Anderson I've read is Speak. It's not that her other books haven't appealed tome, but rather that they have been so talked up that I was afraid I would be disappointed if I read them. But I figured I would give The Impossible Knife of Memory a chance, it sounded different and like it could be a very special story. And it was. This story wasn't the uplifting kind. There were moments that were downright painful to read, they were so raw and realistic. But it was most definitely a moving story, especially when considering the subject matter it dealt with. Laurie Halse Anderson portrayed Hayley and her dad's struggle in a way that felt read and felt completely raw. Reading Hayley's story and seeing her struggle and her pain often broke my heart. She didn't hold anything back when it came to telling her story, and at times the whole thing almost felt hopeless. But there were still some bright spots in the story, moments that showed that there was some hope left for Hayley and her dad. And they needed whatever hope they could hold on to.
There's so much I could say about Hayley and her dad. Right from the start, I knew Hayley would worm her way into my heart, and she certainly did. Hayley is the kind of person you want to root for. She just needed to be cut a break and she more than deserved one. But more than anything Hayley deserved to be taken care of, instead of her taking care of everyone. And her dad did his beat, but there was only so much he could do if he didn't first start taking care of himself. But he tried and you've gotta give him some credit for at least trying, even if he wasn't always successful. The person that really shone tough, was Finn. Throughout everything he was always willing to stand by Hayley's side, even if he had troubles of his own at home. I liked that he didn't have a perfect life because his imperfection is part of what made him so perfect for Hayley.
Laurie Halse Anderson's The Impossible Knife of Memory was a powerful, moving and incredibly touching story. Though moments were downright difficult to read, Hayley's and her dad's story is one that deserves and needs to be read and shared by everyone.