tikom inspired valentines!
Finishing up my fanart ideas for “The Impossible Knife of Memory.” Two pics in the water, both having to do with trust. As someone who also can’t swim, I can tell you, that’s a heck of a big thing to trust someone with yourself in the deep end.
Normally for my job I need to read fast, comment, and then move on to the next thing. It’s been a very nice change of pace to be able to spend some time with Ms Blue & co.
I started my senior year in September 2001, in a small, rural town. Many of the guys in my school joined up after graduation. I think Haley’s dad is a few years older than me, but this is one of the first YA titles I’ve read where the parents are clearly of my generation. The first one where they’re the ones doing damage to their kids, instead of it coming from people my folks’ age.
I grew up reading books about dads damaged in Vietnam. The teens I work with will read about Hayley’s dad. Anderson’s definitely telling us that, the more things change, the more they stay the same. And I’ll be thinking about that for a long time still.
The Impossible Knife of Memory was an excellent choice for the Reblog Book Club. It was a well-written book with heavy subject matter, and overall I think that enjoyed it even more than the previous selection, Fangirl.
Anderson writes beautiful, easy-to-read, compelling prose. I was immediately sucked into the novel which isn’t always easy when you’re writing in first person. I don’t personally have experience with PTSD so it was very interesting and enlightening to read about it from Hayley’s perspective. Any time that a child has to grow up and parent a parent is hard, but you do feel for Hayley because of the ups and downs of her father.
The characters are also real, fully realized, and interesting.Though I want to know where the Finnegan Ramoses are in real life. I have yet to meet one and I would like to.
Though the characters are not always likeable. Actually, in the case of the narrator, Hayley, rarely likeable. I can’t even begin to describe the level of unlikable that Hayley is. She’s interesting for the first couple of chapters, then she gets unlikeable, Somewhere right before the middle of the book she gets close to likability, but then it’s right back to her being unlikeable again. It got to the point where she was so surly with people that I really didn’t even care of the situation ever got better.
[Spoilers] Hayley seems very smart, but I wish she had sought help for her father sooner. The ending with her father saving her and both of them getting help is pretty satisfying, but I can’t help but wonder if they could’ve been on the road to healing much earlier.
I would recommend this book to any YA fiction fan. I think you will especially enjoy it if you are a fan of John Green’s writing style and stories.
Because of Hayley I gave it a 4/5 on my Goodreads account which translates to “I really liked it.”
I just want to say that I loved The Impossible Knife of Memory. I think the characters are realistic and compelling, and that the story is important, and that Laurie Halse Anderson depicts mental illness and its ripple effect accurately. This is absolutely a book that I wish I could’ve read in high school, but it’s still so good now that I’m a little bit older. I hope it finds its way to readers who’re going through something similar because seeing versions of your life reflected in fiction feels good and cathartic and I haven’t read many other books that deal with this particular topic as thoroughly as this book does.
It’s been really great reading about everyone’s thoughts and seeing which parts of the book that everyone focused on, especially compared to some of the Fangirl discussions. I feel like everyone really got behind Cath and understood her motivations a little bit more than they did with Hayley, but the tone of this book is a lot darker, so I guess that’s understandable. I think it was rinceya who talked about this a little bit? I really liked her observation that Fangirl is a story that deals with the aftermath of a mess somewhat similar to what we saw in The Impossible Knife of Memory. Except where Fangirl focuses more on Cath’s emotional issues and uses her father’s mental health recovery as a backdrop, in TIKOM, we really see how PTSD affects both Andy and Hayley’s daily lives and also the beginning of some long-term problems that Hayley will need to address in the future.
And I have a new cake recipe! And a better appreciation for the Odyssey reference! And some new (to me) music to listen to!
Anyway! Thanks again to everyone for having me and to Rachel and Laurie Halse Anderson and Penguin for putting this together!
I am so glad that Benedetti just told Hayley to suck it up. It’s about damn time that someone did.
Let’s chit-chat about the last third of ‘The Impossible Knife of Memory’…
SO. MUCH. HAPPENS.
Like the first third kinda dragged, the second half I was reading faster than I was paying attention to absorb more, but this last third I was just like craving more and more with each page turn because I needed to know what the end of this story was going to be.
Watching Andy finally spiral to the point where Hayley risked calling the cops and was really hard to do but it has sort of also been the thing that I’ve been waiting for this whole time. I’ve been dying to know what was the straw, where the line was, what was going to make Hayley put her foot down and say “enough!”. And realistically it wasn’t even so much Andy that did it but his allowing of Michael and Michael’s friend around after having a genuinely bad bit of news laid on him.
I really appreciated the moment between Andy and Hayley when he was in his dress whites and went to the school for Veteran’s Day. I think that was a really important moment for both of them to have before things really took that turn. It makes the last few scenes reinforced with how important they are to each other. I don’t really know if I have the proper thoughts or words to describe my brain when I realized what was happening with Andy being gone and the letters and the call from Trish. It was just…. a lot.
Hayley & Finn was equally as lot. There up and down stuff was almost such a tear away from the other stuff. I really disliked the whole “bitch-Hayley” thing from the mall incident, I think I get why it happened and what is symbolized within Hayley but it was hard for me to read it and not want to shake Hayley and acknowledge she can’t run from her thoughts/fears/actions by splitting herself into other sides and laying blame.
But I truly like how she and Finn came back together. It was honestly one of my favorite parts about the book that the main focus wasn’t about Hayley and Finn working towards being together over the usual obstetrical. Instead they got together pretty early on and the rest of the story was about them working and fighting to stay together no matter what each other was dealing with or what came flying at them from left field.
Finally Hayley thanked Trish. I was so, so, so, happy to see her finally realize that Trish was not simply the monster she remembered/thought of her. It brought forth the idea that Hayley needs to acknowledge she herself is not the same little girl she was or what her life might have tried to label her. She has come a long way and she can’t forever block out her memories to become the person she built up in her mind, but that she is a growing and adjusting teen.
The end was…nice. I don’t know how or why but I was still expecting a last minute crap situation so it wasn’t wrapped up so perfect and nice. Like obviously Hayley, Andy, and Finn deserve to have a nice ending, a new and bright future, so I don’t know why for a moment I wanted to take it away.
My only qualm was that we kind of just stopped hearing about Gracie. I wanted to know how things with her parents ended up, how Gracie herself was dealing. How having her friend deal with so much affected her, was she there for Hayley? I just became weirdly attached to Graice and wanted to know if she too got a nice, happy little ending.
Overall the book impressed me. I was a little hesitant about it when I first read the description but I like trying new book things and I’ve heard good things about Laurie Halse Anderson before so I thought why not? And the beginning was slow and I took a while to warm up to Hayley but I became invested and truly interested. I’d recommend it to a friend.