Saturday, February 1, 2014

Book Review: The Impossible Knife of Memory by Laurie Halse Anderson

I picked this book up because it said it dealt with post-traumatic stress disorder. Being a psychology major in University, I have a huge fascination with mental illness. Perhaps 'fascination' is a poor choice of word, but mental illnesses interest me.

Hayley's dad, Andy, is a war vet with severe PTSD. Since his return from Iraq, they've spent years driving around in a rig trying desperately to escape Andy's memories. Unfortunately, PTSD is not an illness that lets you run away from it.

Andy and Hayley finally settle in their hometown so that Hayley can attend school for her senior year of high school. Being home schooled by her ill father hasn't exactly left Hayley with the best school skills, but she has found friends in Gracie, Topher, and the adorably strange Finn.

When I finished this book, I honestly didn't know how I felt. At times while reading, I just wanted to be finished because the PTSD issue was so strong, it was sometimes hard to read. I found myself wanting to curl up with the happiest book on the planet to recover from this. It was raw, heartbreaking, and honest. Halse Anderson really did a great job in portraying the pain both Andy and Hayley were dealing with.

I really just wanted to hug all of the characters. Almost all of them had some big issue to deal with, and I just wanted to hug them and tell them that life won't always be this hard. That, or give them a chocolate bar the size of their fictional heads.

I did have a slight issue with the ending. The build up to the end was so large, and when the big thing happened (no spoilers here), and was over, everything was suddenly great. Too great for a family that had struggled for so long. It just felt like the author was in a hurry to finish the book.

I would recommend this to those who like to read the hard stuff. Those who are okay with heartbreaking emotions, and drama, but keep something light on hand for when you're finished.

My Rating (since this is now the month of all things hearts, I thought I'd use hearts as a rating system):

3 out of 5 hearts based on Goodreads rating system.

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