How did I get it?:
I bought it. I pre-ordered it, purely because it was Laurie Halse Anderson. She’s one of my auto buy authors now!
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.
I may have only read two other Laurie Halse Anderson books (Speak and Wintergirls) but I have many of her other books waiting on my shelf. Still, when I found out about The Impossible Knife of Memory, I immediately pre-ordered it and then bumped it when it arrived through my letterbox. I devoured it within a day or two. Laurie Halse Anderson is a genius at what she does. She is a fantastic writer. I think she’s one of the best in the genre. I think it’s because she’s so raw and real. She never shies away from tough subjects and treats her audience with maturity.
The Impossible Knife of Memory explores the journey of Andy, Hayley’s dad who is experiencing the effects of PTSD. It is told through Hayley, a 17 year old, who is trying to have a normal teenage life, but is also plagued by worries about her father. Andy is haunted by his experiences in the past and he heavily relies on alcohol and drugs to numb the pain. Their roles are almost reversed as Hayley cares for Andy, as if she was the parent.
It isn’t a light and fun read. I don’t think I ever expected it to be, considering it’s about PTSD. What I do like about this book is that our protagonist Hayley, has such a wonderful sense of humour. It really brings a smile to your face despite the tense situation. If I’m honest, her humour made the book easier to read. It would’ve been far too intense otherwise. I also really liked Hayley’s relationship with Finn. Unlike some Young Adult romances, their romance was believable and sweet. Finn was the perfect person to support Hayley, and worked hard to bring down Hayley’s barriers.
I can’t speak highly enough of Laurie’s writing. It’s so raw, that it can sometimes be incredibly hard to read. Yet it’s so beautifully written that you don’t want to stop reading. I particularly liked how Laurie drew on some personal experience. When an author does this, it really does add such a realistic element to it. You understand and believe in what the characters are experiencing. I highly recommend this book.
I read this book at the same time as fellow Laurie Halse Anderson fan Amanda. Please check out her review HERE and look out for our feature on this book coming soon!
Would I recommend it?: