Friday, August 22, 2014

Book review: The Impossible Knife of Memory

The Impossible Knife of Memory by 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? The Impossible Knife of Memory is Laurie Halse Anderson at her finest: compelling, surprising, and impossible to put down.

Before requesting this one from the library, I knew very little about it. I’ve read some of Laurie Halse Anderson’s other books and follow her on twitter, so I saw the hashtag everywhere when this one came out and I guess it just stuck in my head.

TIKOM is a heavy book. The Hayley’s father is a veteran a couple times over. He suffers from (what I would call) PTSD and has a lot of addiction issues. He can’t hold down a job and isn’t really doing much parenting. Hayley is self-sufficient; she doesn’t like relying on other people and will do whatever it takes to protect her life with her father.

The Impossible Knife of Memory focuses on a population that isn’t often addressed in Young Adult lit -- veterans. I won’t say too much on this because I know there’s a lot of people who have a lot more experience with vets and their challenges after active duty, but I think they’re a forgotten / misunderstood population, and this book shines light on some challenges some (certainly not all) vets might face.

I think it also presented a realistic portrayal of addiction -- of not knowing which version of your loved one you’re going to meet when you get home, of the ways the addiction ends up poisoning all areas of your life.

Given the topic, it’s hard for me to say I loved this book. Guys, a lot of it is a downer. But it was incredibly well written and the main character’s voice is true. The characters in TIKOM are deep and people you come to care about. I ended up racing through, wanting to know what would happen to everyone. 

I gave The Impossible Knife of Memory three stars (but I was torn between three and four).

Have any of you read this one? What did you think?

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Top ten things I've learned from my big sister

It is her birthday.

So, in honor of my sister being old, here's a top ten list of things I've learned from my older sister. Maaaaybe it's not reaaaally THE top ten. But it's a pretty good ten.

ONE. Sometimes when you're really mad at someone, it helps to hear someone else call them a lot of really bad names and cuss about them.

TWO. Most meals can be improved by a little bit of garlic or a lot of Parmesan cheese.

THREE. You should blow on your blush brush before you apply your blush so it doesn't come out streaky.

FOUR. If you're uncomfortable at a party, it feels better if you have something in your hand. Even if you're not drinking, hold a cup.

FIVE. I like sweet white wine.

SIX. Speaking of, bartenders know when you're drunk. Even if you don't know you're drunk. They know.

SEVEN. The University of Kansas is a wonderful place and the Kansas Jayhawks are the best team there is.

EIGHT. It's ok to root for the team everyone else is rooting against. Know your stuff so you can argue back and have fun with it.

NINE. Keep your arm strong when serving a volleyball. No bending at the wrist.

TEN. Adoption is the best way to find your pet soulmate.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY EMILY! Hope it's great!!

PS. I just thought of another really good one and I already forgot it but it's proof that there's more than ten...


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