Monday, May 5, 2014

The Impossible Knife of Memory

A review in 10 words (or thereabouts):  A soldier returns home and brings the battlefield with him, and a battlefield is no place for a young girl.

Author: Laurie Halse Anderson
Info: Viking Juvenile, copyright 2014, 391 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? 

~Goodreads Description~

The Awesome
I can usually spot an "issue" book from a mile away, and I'm not a huge fan of issue books.  They often come off too preachy, an author on his or her soapbox attempting to say something profound.  While this book deals with issues...lots of issues, Anderson avoids the soapbox pitfalls by telling a story.  It's a hard story full of poor choices, hard emotions, and bleeding hearts, but it's a story of "real" people.  The relationships are believable and the dialogue is fantastically quick witted and snappy.  Yes...snappy :)

The Not So Awesome
The ending was a little clean.  This is not to say that I don't appreciate and prefer clean endings, but I was a little surprised how perfectly this story wrapped up.  Maybe the characters went through enough during the course of the book?  Or maybe Anderson just needed to give her readers a little hope?  Either way, while I'm glad Hayley, her father, and Finn have found their own versions of Happily Ever After, I wonder how realistic the ending really is.

Laurie Halse Anderson is good.  She's very good, and she's super nice if you ever get the chance to meet her.  And I have to say, there's something super special about reading and enjoying a signed copy of a book.  If you're a fan of realistic or contemporary fiction and don't mind reading about teens dealing with some major issues, pick up The Impossible Knife of Memory.  In fact, pick it up even if you don't.  It's just that good.

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