Book Review: The Impossible Knife of Memory

Book Review: The Impossible Knife of Memory

Alyssa Daniele, Photo Editor

“The laws on the universe dictate that for every positive action, there is an unequal and sucky reaction.” It seems like to Hayley that every time she escapes her sometimes nightmarish life for a good day, there is something much worse waiting for her just around the bend.

New York Times Bestselling author Laurie Halse Anderson is at her best in her amazingly captivating book The Impossible Knife of Memory. 17-year-old blue-haired Hayley Rose Kincain and her father, Andy, have been on the road for the past five years, trying to escape the memories that have been haunting them. But when they settle down in Andy’s hometown, there is no escaping the brutal truth of their memory.

The horrors that Andy experienced in Iraq have threatened to consume him ever since he got back. As Hayley’s father suffers from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Hayley becomes consumed by the task of taking care of her father, who has been reduced to alcohol and drugs to escape the memories of war that threatens to consume him everyday. Hayley is left to clean up after her father and is forced to become the parent of the house.

Things take a good turn for Hayley when she meets the young, handsome and hilarious Finnegan Ramos, also known as Finn. At first reluctant to the idea of forming a relationship of any kind with Finn, Hayley soon finds herself enjoying his company. They grow closer as the year continues and soon enough Finn slowly discovers the other side of the smartly ironic Hayley, the side that deals with her father’s PTSD and her painful memories that are always threatening to consume her. “‘A little broken is still broken,’ I pointed out. ‘But fixable.’” Said Finn, showing Hayley that things can be fixed, and he is able to help her cope with her father.

No matter how hard Hayley tries to assist and help her father, he just keeps sinking deeper into his mind and the memories that haunt him. Hayley can only do so much for her father. At some point, he has to be willing to help himself. Even when it seems like her father is making progress in becoming his former self again, Andy proves to always be on the very edge of breaking beyond repair. He is not alone though, Hayley will not let him go down without her and will do everything she possibly can to show him this. “You’re the one who doesn’t understand. I’ve been standing on the edge with you for years,” Hayley said to her father.

This book looks into the heart-wrenching story of a soldier who returned home and his daughter, both in attempt to escape the horrors of their past. This amazing, exhilarating story is a first-person perspective page-turner that is hard to put down form the very first sentence. The book opens readers eyes to the truth of PTSD and takes them into the inside of the hard to imagine truth. Written with beautiful grace, this is Laurie Halse Anderson at her finest, and the captivating story takes unexpected bold turns that will clutch at their heart.