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The Impossible Knife of Memory, an SCBWI Book Review

You know what I did immediately after I promised not to read the PTSD novel?  I went ahead and read the PTSD novel.  Good thing school started recently, so I haven’t had time to blog.  We’ve all had a sufficient break from the depressing, unjust world, right?

Good!  Let’s dive back in.

Impossible Knife of Memory

Click the image to go to the Amazon page

Book: The Impossible Knife of Memory, by Laurie Halse Anderson

Genre: Young Adult, Realistic Fiction

Recommendation:  Um… honestly?  Eh.  It’s just… you know, it’s good.  It’s okay.  I much prefer Speak.  You should read that one for sure.

Run-on Sentence Synopsis: Hayley is a high school student who classifies the whole world into either “zombies” or “freaks” in a way that seems like a forced quirk because it does very little to further the plot and her dad has PTSD in a bad way and she falls in love with a boy and she has to deal with her dad’s issues and her own issues.

Positive Feedback: Anderson is always successful at characterization in her own way.  There were some really solid emotional moments that gripped me and made me feel the characters’ pain.  As a fan of psychology, I was very interested in delving into this world of trauma and the psychological ramifications of same.  The material is handled with respect and has an appropriate weight to it.  It’s obviously not a lighthearted novel, and that’s good.  You can tell Anderson has a vested interest in representing trauma and related mental disorders accurately.

Constructive Criticism: Given my interest in psychology, I was kind of disappointed when the father’s PTSD kind of became a subplot rather than the main story.  In the end, I felt like I was reading yet another “F-the-World-Girl meets Quirky-Sexy-Boy” teen romance.  Even worse, the pacing of the romance  felt off to me.  There wasn’t a lot of chemistry between the two characters, and they fell for each other way too quickly in my opinion.  A large struggle many children go through is finding themselves parenting the parents.  That should have been the meat of this story, and I just wasn’t getting that.  This is weird, but I feel like Sarah Dessen would have written this book better.  If you want a book that touches on tough psychological issues and abusive relationships (I mean, you wouldn’t want that, but you know what I mean), then go pick up Dreamland.  Yeah… this book review just became a recommendation for another author and book.  I guess that pretty much sums it up.

I still have to read Caraval, but I don’t know when I’ll do that.  I have a baby, five classes to teach, and boxes to unpack.  But I will try my best!

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Grotesquely Optimistic

Oh my!  I’ve been curiously absent over the past few weeks, haven’t I?  You may be wondering what I’ve been up to.



No, no.  Besides that.


That’s right, I’ve been moving.  The fiance and I packed up all our stuff and headed out of New York around mid December.  We’ve been traveling quite a ways, all by car.  It’s been a pleasant trip so far.  The dog doesn’t think so, but we keep telling him that we’re a dictatorship, not a democracy.

The only problem with our road trip is that I haven’t had a lot of time to blog.

What I have been managing to do is write.  I have very recently finished a new draft of Grotesque.  Yes, that’s right.  After all those posts about procrastination, I finally got on it.  My last goal is a bit of world building.  My knowledge of history has always been a bit…lacking…

My best friend Liz still remembers the very real struggle of trying to help me with the subject in high school.

Did they wear hats

So I cracked into Medieval History for Dummies.  Really interesting stuff, surprisingly.  Even more shocking is that I seem to be grasping the gist of it.  It’s helping me form a much more coherent idea of this world I created, and it’s going to make Grotesque that much more believable, I think.  I’m hoping to share some excerpts in the near future, so you can look forward to that.  In the meantime I might be updating a little less often because I really want to get this thing done.  I’m so close!

Keep me in your thoughts, folks.  May 2015 be a profitable year for all!

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