The Impossible Knife of Memory

August 4, 2017

Author: Laurie Halse Anderson.


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?

(Published summary)

Content Review:

Sexual Content: Passing two boys, “Others would stick out their boobs, push their butt high and swing it side to side to say ‘check it out. Like it? Want it?’ Some girls are stupid.” “When he dumped some girl named Zoe she blasted a disrespectful description of his man-parts on the internet. Topher responded with photographic evidence she was lying.” Advices boy going on date to “keep your pants zipped”. Character finds out her father was cheating on her mother. Some kissing. Narrator reflects on the high-school attitude to sex. Two kids in bed together, clothes start coming off, then they change their minds.

Language: 32 scatological terms, 15 derogatory terms, 15 d***, 6 hell, 1 F-word

Violence: Vivid flash-backs to the war happen, in which there are death and blood from bombs exploding and men being shot. One barfight happens off screen. MC’s father trashes the house and hurts himself. They receive news that a platoon of men (that we met) died. Character slips off bluff and is caught at the last second – bruises ribs, dislocates shoulder, ends up in the hospitable for a period.

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