Ingrid's Reviews > The Impossible Knife of Memory

The Impossible Knife of Memory by Laurie Halse Anderson
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it was ok

I've hit a bit of a rough patch with books. For the past month, many of the books I've read have been kind of okay, lame, or just confusing. At least two books this month I've been unsure of whether I liked them or didn't, because they had issues, but had beauty.

This is another book that I'm not sure if I liked, but know that I didn't hate. Like with all of Laurie Halse Anderson's books, The Impossible Knife of Memory explores a tricky subject that in some hands could be easily botched. The subject of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

Hayley's dad is a veteran, and his years of war scarred him mentally and emotionally. He struggles with fear, stress, and definitely trauma, making home a scary and unhappy place for Hayley. Hayley, of course, has to go through the book to find herself, grow up, and regain her memory.

Let's break this down into two groups: Like vs Dislike.


-Beautiful writing. Anderson's words flow, her pacing is perfect, and the writing is hooking. Everytime I read one of her books I'm blown away just by the word-choosing talent.

-Hayley's Dad. I know he's probably not a popular character, but I liked him and had compassion on him (more so than Hayley, I'm sorry to say.) Not knowing a whole lot about PTSD, I can't say whether or not he was an accurate portrayal.

-Trish. Sorry, but I thought she made sense. And I liked her. If I'd been her, I probably would've run out of that place too. I don't blame her, and Hayley's pure hatred of her irritated me.


-Hayley. It's always an unfortunate thing when you dislike the protagonist. Hayley was just... angry and hated everyone. Yes, teens have crappy attitudes. Yes, she had home issues. I get all that. I just couldn't relate to her because she was so over the top mad and judgmental of every human being. Also, I don't think that it's too unrealistic to have a teen protagonist who doesn't hate everything and can actually have a positive attitude. I mean, we exist. *Waves hand* I don't hate everything!

-Finn. Yes, another main character I didn't like much. I just... didn't buy him. He didn't seem like a very realistic character and there's no discernible reason for why he likes Hayley so much. He just shows up one day and then doesn't stop. There didn't seem to be a whole lot of substance in that relationship.

-The memory part of this book. I' m not sure what Anderson was trying to do with this aspect of the book. Hayley doesn't have any memories from her childhood. She's blocked it out, and refuses to remember anything. Sometimes a little memory will come up, and she'll push it away by a complex pattern of breathing and distracting herself. It wasn't clear why she was doing this, and it never added to the story. I'd say it was more of a distraction from the meat of the plot.

Sadly, the dislike outweighed the like in this review, but the book wasn't a complete waste. It was still well-written and I like what Anderson does for the teen genre with her heavies topics.
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Reading Progress

Started Reading
January 28, 2014 – Shelved
January 28, 2014 – Finished Reading

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