Book Review: “The Impossible Knife of Memory” by Laurie Halse Anderson


“The Impossible Knife of Memory” by Laurie Halse Anderson (2014)

Genre: YA, Fiction, Contemporary

Book Length: 391 pages (hardcover pages)


For the past five years, Hayley Kincain 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? (description from Goodreads)


I’m a really big fan of Anderson’s previous works, so I was really intrigued to read this novel. The Impossible Knife of Memory is a powerful and moving story. Our main protagonist, Hayley, carries the weight of the world on her shoulders. She  has to take care of her dad who suffers from PTSD and alcoholism, while trying to live her own life as a normal teenager.

Dealing with the job of being her dad’s guardian and caretaker isn’t easy and she’s also weighed down by the troubles of her past and the people who have let her down. Because of this Hayley builds up a wall between herself and others in order to keep from falling apart. Little by little, she is able to eventually break down this wall through friends and the family she has met.

Anderson has tackled stories like this before with characters that are faced with difficult situations (her popular novel “Speak”). Her writing is very real and engaging. This novel is a page turner and it was hard to put down.

Final Verdict:

A must read for fans of Anderson’s previous novels or anyone looking for a more serious tone story. 5 out of 5 stars!


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