The Impossible Knife Of Memory


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?:
Of course!

19 thoughts on “The Impossible Knife Of Memory

  1. Pingback: Review: The Impossible Knife of Memory by Laurie Halse Anderson | Amanda's Nose in a Book

  2. I have to admit that I’m still a little hesitant about this one. It sounds really good, but I tend to enjoy a more lighter fare. I do like that the MC is humorous. I don’t know if I could handle dark, dark, dark. I have an arc of this one my Kindle. I’ll have to give it a shot…sometime. Great review!

    • Thanks Natalie. I know what you mean. I can’t read too many books that are dark in a row. I quite often need some light relief. If the MC wasn’t so humorous, it would’ve definitely been harder to read.

  3. Is it weird that I haven’t read any of her other books after Wintergirls because it struck a chord in me and I didn’t wan to take away the magic of that book with the others??

  4. Wow this sounds heartwrenching but brilliant! I still haven’t read this author but her books sound fantastic! Adding them all to my TBR. Great review Chrissi, will look out for yours and Amanda’s feature!

  5. Guh. I don’t know why I read your review of this, other than to hear what you thought of it, but now it’s even more torturous, my not knowing if I’m going to meet her or not on Sunday!

    Really, really great review though – otherwise I wouldn’t feel so tortured! XD

  6. Glad you enjoyed this so much! I just picked it up at the library last week, but I haven’t started reading it yet. This will be my first LHA book. From your review, it sounds like I’ll need to get myself in the right frame of mind before I jump into this.

Comments make me smile and I love to reply to them! Thanks for visiting today!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.