“The Impossible Knife of Memory”, Book Review

Credit Amazon/Viking
Credit Amazon/Viking

I’m not sure how I feel about this book. Just a few chapters in someone asked me what it was about. I replied, “A girl who refuses to remember her past but it keeps slipping through. I have a feeling it is going to break through in the worst way possible.”

I was wrong…. And I’m sad about it. I was hopeful for a little crazy.

“The Impossible Knife of Memory” by Laurie Halse Anderson is more a story of a group of seniors and their dysfunctional lives than anything about memory or how impossible it may be. The dust jacket reads, “For the past five years, Hayley Kincain and her father, Andy, have been on the road, trying to outrun the memories that haunt them both.” That certainly applies to Andy, a multi-tour veteran with PTSD, TBI and a bum leg… but Hayley is just a girl who has had to be too responsible too soon and doesn’t know how to be herself any longer.

The entire book could have been told from Hayley’s POV. I disliked the randomly spaced flashbacks from Andy’s perspective, they were too literary and descriptive to be coming from a war-torn veteran.

“… Kill him and you can watch the heat leave his body like a spirit reaching for the moon.”

Wait, what? I have known lots of soldiers and none of them would wax poetic about thermal-imaging goggles, not to mention that you cannot see the heat leave a body once dead unless you plan to sit by the body for the next 6-8 hours.

It would be more interesting to watch paint dry.

Hayley’s story is a beach read. Something you pick up that has a little drama, a little love, and a happy ending. I will read more of Anderson’s books despite this stumble. Hayley was a relatable character with less the three dimensional friends.

What have you read lately?


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