The Impossible Knife of Memory by Laurie Halse Anderson


It's no Speak, but The Impossible Knife of Memory was a fine piece of YA fiction by Laurie Halse Anderson. And it's probably not even fair for me to compare the two because they are such different plots, but I'm human and I can't help it.

Hayley, after so many years on the road with her father Andy, is finally settling down for her senior year of high school. But unlike so many novels that focus on the school life, The Impossible Knife of Memory is all about the family dynamics and her father--who's struggling with PTSD and medicating with drugs and alcohol.

This story is more about Andy than Hayley. Sure, it follows Hayley and her relationships with her friends and her anti-boyfriend Finn, but the novel surrounds the deterioration of Andy and how hard it is for Hayley. Though, I did love the romance that was included. Finn was nerdy and adorable and snarky--basically my perfect guy. And the romance didn't overwhelm the story, but was intertwined perfectly and subtly.

The only thing I wish was different about this novel was Hayley's memories. She too suffers from memory loss, blocking out the good and the bad of her childhood until she basically can't feel anything. But I wanted a little more explanation on why and how, instead of a summary at the end. But honestly, that was my only quibble.

From reading some of Laurie Halse Anderson's other books, I know that they aren't constant action and I shouldn't expect to be sitting on the edge of my seat. But they are beautifully written and so clever and hilarious. I was constantly reading quotes aloud to my boyfriend and making him laugh without any context. This book was dramatic and beautiful and funny and definitely a keeper.

My Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

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