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.
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!