laurie halse anderson. YOWSA!


so, i’ll admit.  i haven’t been reading much since the king baby’s reign began last july.  i have done a lot of other things, including birthing her, weaning myself off the chocolate pudding that had become my pregnancy diet mainstay, learning how to dress her in outfits with snaps all the way up the back (what i learned: don’t dress her in these outfits), watching every single episode of damages on netflix, moving from my beloved arlington to my home willage of rochester, and finding a new job.  with a commute!  which FORCED ME TO FINALLY, FINALLY DRIVE A CAR.  ew, yish!

the one benefit that i can see for driving a car is audiobooks.  i know i know… welcome to the party about 20 years late, lintzy!  but OMG.  maybe i will be able to consume fiction again!  i’m hopeful.  my first real foray into the world of audiobooks happened this week with laurie halse anderson’s the impossible knife of memory.  what a title!  definitely on par with ness’s amazing the knife of never letting go.  NO!  i am actually not at all obsessed with knives!  i am much more obsessed with ice cream.  more ice cream, fewer knives, if you ask me.

the impossible knife of memory tells the story of 17-year-old hayley kincain and her father andy, a veteran of the iraq war.  winner of the purple heart and sufferer of PTSD, andy spends his days and nights running from demons and bouncing between moments of violent outbursts and selfless caring for his daughter and country.  hayley and andy have spent the past several years on the road, and the book begins when they decide to settle down in andy’s hometown in upstate new york.  as usual, laurie halse anderson tells a brutally realistic story from an unconventional perspective.  in this case, we see the story through hayley’s eyes.  thank you, laurie halse anderson, for telling us a war story through female eyes.

hayley cares for her father with heartbreaking fierceness.  but she’s scared of him, too.  and for good reason– he is not beyond violently lashing out at the people who love him most, including hayley.  once again, anderson has shown how adept she is at creating characters who aren’t defined by one characteristic, but are instead unraveled over the course of a story in scary, sad, true, and human ways.

and i haven’t even MENTIONED the teen drama that occurs… and you KNOW that’s what i can’t get enough of!  i swear, i think it’s because i was incredibly socially awkward, but i will never EVER get too old to read a teen like story!  and hayley’s beau finn is totes adorbs, handsome nerd with a love for newspapering, gaming, and our prickly hayley girl.  and just when you think you’ve got him figured out, anderson reminds us that he’s a person who has stuff going on, too.

the audiobook version is well done.  read by julia whelan and luke daniels, the portrayals are compelling and believable.  whelan’s gravelly imitation of male voices isn’t distracting, and she does a nice job capturing hayley’s disillusioned sarcasm.

so, boom.  ladies and gentleman, i have read  a book! i’d like to thank all of the things that made this possible: king baby not screaming on the way to daycare!  laurie halse anderson being a great writer!  and the fact that i recently hit a deer and my car is in the shop for many days and the BP’s prius will not stream my phone and therefore i cannot listen to podcasts!  hip hip hurray!


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