Know this- I do not read e-ARCs. I try to avoid reading ebooks because I spend enough of my time on the computer as it is so I don’t need to add more screens to my life. As a result, you will find me reading ebooks while traveling or as part of committee work.
Except for this book. I made an exception for this one and it was so worth it.
Laurie Halse Anderson’s The Impossible Knife of Memory will rip your heart our, stomp on it, throw it against the wall, and then pick it up and put it back together again.
Hayley and her father, a war vet, have spent the last five years on the road. He drives a truck and she rides alongside, taking care of him. Struggling with demons, haunted by what he saw in Iraq, her father spends his time moving from town to town, never staying in one place for very long. Hayley looks out for him, acting as his parent in a reversal of roles. But now they are living in her grandmother’s house and her father is determined to settle down so Hayley can go to school and graduate on time.
But her father’s PTSD only gets worse and there’s only so much Hayley can do. She can’t take care of herself and her father. Can she save him from himself? Can she save herself?
The Impossible Knife of Memory is unputdownable. Laurie Halse Anderson handles PTSD and the effects of war in a deft and powerful manner. It’s not just our vets who suffer, but also their families. Hayley’s voice is spot-on, as Anderson has an uncanny knack for capturing the teen voice. But her actions, as her father’s support system and caretaker, are also inherently teen. How much can we expect teenagers to take on? How much do we know about what they deal with when they leave our classrooms? Anderson brings forth these questions and many more.
Dealing with other issues ranging from education funding, to teenage herd mentality, to drug abuse, Laurie Halse Anderson manages to craft a heartbreaking story that still manages to leave the reader with hope. Highliy recommended for all readers, I think The Impossible Knife of Memory has a lot of crossover appeal and I expect to see it mentioned on many awards lists later this year.
Thank you to Laurie Halse Anderson for giving us stories that no one else is able to write. Powerful and thought-provoking, this is a book for all ages.