The Impossible Knife of Memory by Laurie Halse Anderson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
This book fissured my heart into a million tiny shards of frozen mirrors and spoke to me in the language of pain and memory and the human struggle to figure out how to clamber through all the muck and find a way to face it and face each other in the characters of Hayley and her father Andy and their story of what PTSD did to them and their loved ones.
Laurie has done it again, with a book so powerful, I was reeling from lines off every page, although perhaps nearly every page is most accurate. I adored the relationship between Hayley and Finn and the depth to which both characters were developed. They took on life and flesh and climbed out of zombied pages and rattled my soul a few dozen times as I read this amazing book.
I still haven't worked out how I feel about Trish, or Benedetti, but both had nuanced touches in story arcs that made them hard to hate entirely, on principal, for instance.
This is the kind of book I wanted to savor, but then thought the better of that idea and decided to devour it and lick my fingers in all the gravy of it, tear off another hunk, and reread it when the taste of juices ebb and I need to scoop gobs of it when it's jellied and cold in the fridge. Probably better to store that on the bookshelf, no?
This book reads with the reality and harshness of a memoir, yet handles the tough issue of PTSD with aplomb and honesty. It's no small feat to write about the war going on in the mind. As someone who works full time in the mental health field, I know this all to well, see the aftermath in my clients and their families, and I can assure you, Laurie has nailed it in this book.
I am also a huge fan of Hayley being highly intelligent and articulate and standing up to the zombified education so prevalent in today's world.
What a powerful, profound read. What a statement. Many statements. Highly recommended.
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