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The Impossible Knife of Memory by Laurie Halse Anderson

The Impossible Knife of Memory - Laurie Halse Anderson

The Impossible Knife of Memory is her seeing the truth

…That what she wants may not be what she or her father needs

…That what she wants may not be even what’s good for her for him

… That what she remembers isn’t as bad as she her behavior have them seem; but neither as good given the way she is with her father.

On what she wants versus what he needs OR how things are versus the way thing sought to be: there’s this general feel of “disconnect” between what is and how she acts, especially with regard to the roles they each fulfill in their family. Theirs is non-traditional definitely, but not in the cute quaint sweet way others are. Because she’s all there is for her father, so that while she takes on responsibilities much bigger she should, here she went going on with it --- failing to see why that shouldn’t be the case.

Factor in further what their system has molded her into: this odd combination of old soul- bitter and biting in some respects, BUT also so unaware and even innocent of the other ‘usual’ things. She’s a contradiction… but that contradiction is slowly recognized and then bridged, with her being able to act her age with that reconnection made with childhood bestie as well as with Finn (it’s on account of him that I just have to add: much love for the math jokes!)

It’s not pretty. It’s not meant to be: how she’s there for her father when he should be there for her. And also why that’s the case. The glimpses into his experience are few and far in between but allow clarity into why it’s heartbreaking both for her and him. BECAUSE it’s his past that has changed who he is; the man she recalls is no more… and yet, despite that knowing, there are more than moments pointing to how little is done about it. His shifts are sudden confusing and terrifying but also heart breaking because of the little that’s done given the knowledge that she’s there for him but some times being there isn't all that a body needs need AND YET there are all those other instances when it's clear that it is THE VERY SAME THING that's called for.