The Impossible Knife of Memory

The Impossible Knife9780670012091_p0_v1_s260x420The Impossible Knife of Memory

Laurie Halse Anderson, Author

Viking, Fiction, Jan. 7, 2014

Suitable for Ages: 12-17

Themes:  Father-daughter relationship,  Family problems, PTSD, Veterans

Book Jacket Synopsis: “For the past five years, Hayley Kincain and her father, Andy, have been on the road trying to outrun the memories that haunt them both.  They move back to Andy’s hometown to try a “normal” life, but the horrors he saw in the war threaten to destroy their lives. Hayley watches, helpless, as her father turns to drugs and alcohol to silence his demons. And then her own past creeps up, and everything falls apart. How do you keep your father alive when death is stalking him?  What are you supposed to do when your father stops acting like an adult?”

Why I like this book: Laurie Halse Anderson’s heart-wrenching novel sensitively addresses the harsh reality of a family broken by war. Her plot is riveting and realistic. Her characters are well-developed with 17-year-old Hayley, an angry yet fragile teenager, who is dealing with very deep wounds — the death of her mother, abandonment by her father’s girlfriend, and parenting a father who suffers severe PTSD. She has watched her father go from the superhero soldier who made the world safe to the sobbing, raging and alcoholic father that she can’t depend upon. Hayley’s only school friend, Finn, brings some stability to her teenage life and the hope  she can believe in someone. Finn is a quirky character that provides the welcomed comic relief to the story. The book is a timely page turner with an unexpected twist at the end. The Impossible Knife of Memory will resonate with young people, but especially those dealing with parents suffering with PTSD.

Visit Laurie Halse Anderson at her website.

About Patricia Tiltonhttps://childrensbooksheal.wordpress.comI want "Children's Books Heal" to be a resource for parents, grandparents, teachers and school counselors. My goal is to share books on a wide range of topics that have a healing impact on children who are facing challenges in their lives. If you are looking for good books on grief, autism, visual and hearing impairments, special needs, diversity, bullying, military families and social justice issues, you've come to the right place. I also share books that encourage art, imagination and creativity. I am always searching for those special gems to share with you. If you have a suggestion, please let me know.

25 thoughts on “The Impossible Knife of Memory

  1. Always tackling sensitive and difficult subjects. It is so hard for a child to see a parent become reduced to a shattered fragment. Such books are so important to offer coping mechanisms and strategies, which, I’m assuming this does.

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    • Usually I run books about military families in May, but decided to release this review. I was so taken by this compelling story, I wanted others to read it. Laurie deals with the subject very realistically, but with sensitivity and humor. It would help a teenager coping with a similar situation. Thanks for the tweet.

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  2. I looked at getting this book (I loved Chains). My mom thought it might be a bit too “emotional” for me, but said she’d pre-read it and see if she thought it’s be okay. I really like Ms. Anderson’s writing style.

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  3. Your blog never dissappoints. There is always a good book on here to read. IF I Didn’t have my tbr pile high already I”d add this one. If you belong to goodreads I’ll look you up and put this on my want to read pile there. I check it from time to time and actually do read books from that pile as well as ones I bring home from the library. 🙂

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