Wednesday, May 14, 2014

the impossible knife of memory by Laurie Halse Anderson

Tags for this title are fathers and daughters fiction; post traumatic stress disorder fiction; family problems fiction; veterans fiction.  The story starts out with a teenaged girl talking about just returning to her grandma's house after of years of absence and no memory of this past.  She and her dad had been on the road, hauling loads in his semi for a number of years.  Now apparently his past war trauma is catching up with him and he wants to settle down or perhaps hide from his memories, let his daughter go to a real school, graduate.  So, I have two people now with possible post traumatic stress disorder.  We need to add the boy who insists on befriending Hayley and the kindergarten friend Gracie who still remembers Hayley and is experiencing serious trauma herself.  All together we have four people experiencing trauma and drama in their lives.  I think all the drama among the teens was enough story in itself, without dad's trauma.  Hayley lost her mother then her grandmother who was raising her, is all of sudden in school after being more or less home schooled.  She is having memory problems, she is rebellious. That's enough trauma to carry the story even without her friends' serious problems.  Dad's drama is just sort of added on to everything else.  Maybe the point of this story is that there is all kinds of traumatic stress in all kinds of lives.  If it was meant to show to teens the effects of war on veterans, I don't think it was completely successful.  I think that gets sort of lost in all the other mess going on.  I read Laurie Halse Anderson books.  I wouldn't say she is a favorite author but her books are ok.  I do not think this one is one of her better books however.  Just my say. 
JDW  5/14

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