Here is a playlist for The Impossible Knife of Memory by Laurie Halse Anderson:
Gods & Monsters – Lana Del Rey
Nothing to Remember – Neko Case
Girls Just Want To Have Fun – Greg Laswell
Broad-Shouldered Beasts – Mumford & Sons
Fear – X Ambassadors
Run Daddy Run – Miranda Lambert
Mr. Tambourine Man – Bob Dylan
The Impossible Knife of Memory Spotify Playlist
The Impossible Knife of Memory
By Laurie Halse Anderson
Rating: 5/5 stars
Hayley is a senior in high school who is struggling to take care of her father who suffers from severe PTSD. After spending years on the road living as a truck driver and homeschooling Hayley, her father has decided that it would be most beneficial to Hayley if they move back to his hometown and enroll her in public school for her senior year. On top of managing any crises at home, Hayley also has to try to navigate the social rules of spending time with people her own age. While also learning to follow the decorum and procedures of being in a classroom. Although it is very obvious that she doesn’t take the latter responsibility too seriously.
After a few months of stationary living, it becomes clear to Hayley that her father’s condition is not improving. Worse yet, without the option of escaping to a new town like he did while truck driving, he is now in the worst downward spiral Hayley has seen yet. As much as Hayley would like to blame this on external factors, like his old girlfriend returning to town or the illegal drugs he is taking, the truth soon becomes hard to ignore. Hayley’s dad is struggling with a huge emotional and mental burden and until he acknowledges this and seeks help, the treatments and programs offered by others are all meaningless.
The Impossible Knife of Memory is a really powerful story with a gritty realism that keeps it grounded. I loved that Hayley was portrayed as a complex character who was had great inner strength but could also be very immature and judgmental at times. It felt like these character flaws were a good balance of Hayley’s natural personality but also a result of her unusual circumstances. The problems that the other primary and secondary characters were experiencing throughout Hayley’s narration also made reading this book a much richer experience. There is a common thread throughout these sub plots that show the reader different ways that the actions of parents affect their children. This reinforces Hayley’s own story and makes for a much better reading experience.