The Impossible Knife of Memory is a whopper of a book. I don’t mean that in terms of length – it’s a fairly standard YA length. I mean it in terms of content. I felt pummeled by this book. Dealing with themes of childhood giving way to adulthood without a stop at adolescence, how to parent one’s parent and how to fit in when you’re both desperate and petrified to, The Impossible Knife of Memory is a stunning book.

I picked this up when I was perusing Target a few weeks back, getting ready for a weekend at the Jersey Shore. I hadn’t read any good YAs in a few months (not since Saint Anything by Sarah Dessen owned me for a weekend in June) and so I was eager to try a new author in case this one would grab me. I can’t say I’m going to eagerly read Anderson’s other books the way I’ve gobbled up Dessen’s entire back catalogue, but this book floored me.

I know some readers won’t connect with this because they’ll think it’s depressing and it is. The story told by this book is not one of triumph or bubbly first dates or the joy of adolescence. This one is about how much it can absolutely suck sometimes to simply try to live. How when you’re fifteen and alone there is no deeper loneliness and how it becomes impossible to trust when the people who you were coded to trust (read: parents) are messes.

If I was a youth worker, I’d have this one on my shelf to give to students trying to sort through themselves. I enjoyed it with a Diet Coke.


Further Reading:


I bought this book in Target out of dead curiosity and I’m glad I did.