Impossible Knife of Memory by Laurie Halse Anderson

Joanne T    February 16, 2014

Impossible Knife of zMemoryHayley Kincain is a high school senior who has never been to high school. Her dad, Andy, a veteran of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, keeps moving them.  He is trying to outrun his memories of these wars.  Andy Kincain has PTSD, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.The reader can feel Hayley’s fear and panic whenever she does not know where her dad is. Hayley has had to be the adult in her family for so long that she does not know how to be 17.

The teachers and kids at school want Hayley to act like a normal high school student. Where are you going to college? Have you taken the SAT?  That is impossible.  Every day when Hayley wakes up she is terrified what her dad will do. He uses drugs, alcohol, and violence to try to bring order to their  lives.  He has brought them to his home town to try to give Hayley a normal life.  But neither of them knows how to be normal.

Finn and Gracie  know what having a screwed up family is.  They each have one.  Their humor, friendship, understanding, and kindness are so foreign to Hayley, that she does not know how to be a friend to them.  But she can try.  She can learn normal.  She can get to be happy.