The Impossible Knife of Memory

The Impossible Knife of MemoryThe Impossible Knife of Memory by Laurie Halse Anderson

Publication Date: January 2, 2014

Publisher: Viking Children’s


Hayley Kincain is spending her senior year of high school in high school. For most kids that would be normal. For Hayley, it’s a tough transition from being homeschooled on the road with her Iraq war veteran father.

Hayley’s trying to lead a normal life. She has a new best friend in Grace and a possible boyfriend in Finn. If only her father’s transition was as easy. Riddled with PTSD, he can barely keep it together. Hayley’s doing everything she can to keep him safe, but she’s worried it might not be enough.

My rating: 3 out of 5 stars

The Impossible Knife of Memory left me feeling kind of…blah. I had such high expectations for it. It just didn’t meet most of them. I can’t decide whether I liked it or not. There were some really great things about it, but there were also things I didn’t like or get.

The writing was amazing. It flowed well and kept me reading when I might have wanted to set the book down. I read it in two days.

I liked the PTSD topic and how Hayley’s dad was portrayed. Even though he wasn’t very likeable, he felt real and I couldn’t help but feel compassion for him and anyone else dealing with returning from war.

I couldn’t stand Hayley most of the time. Her denial of her dad’s condition was understandable, as was her warped sense of the past. Her habit of referring to her classmates as zombies drove me nuts. I just didn’t get it. The only time I really felt like I could connect with her character was toward the end of the book.

I also couldn’t stand Hayley’s dad’s flashbacks. I don’t know why we were treated to them, but they didn’t add anything to the story for me. At least the memories Hayley had were able to show how she was twisting her own truth.

So while I loved the writing and the issue the story was tackling, there were just too many things I didn’t like. I will be trying another of Laurie Hulse Anderson’s stories in the future since she’s obviously a talented author.

4 thoughts on “The Impossible Knife of Memory”

  1. We have the same view on this one too. The narration was witty and I was expecting something more in the story but I was disappointed because the book didn’t go far enough for me. After finishing the book, I asked myself: “That’s it?” I thought this one was so heart breaking.

    1. I agree. I also felt more connection with the supporting characters than I did the main character. It wasn’t amazing, but it wasn’t bad either. It was just like, huh.

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