Friday, June 26, 2015

The Impossible Knife of Memory (Booktalk)

Hayley's high school experience is a piece of cake compared to her real job, living with her father. He's a veteran who barely survived his tours of duty in the Middle East. His PTSD-related flashbacks involve ambushed foot patrols, gruesome IED explosions, and suicide bombers living in ghost villages.

"You take care of him more than he takes care of you," her boyfriend Finn remarks.

So Hayley has some PTSD of her own. This is what it takes to be her:
- the ability to spend a lot of time on the road while Dad drives a big rig
- knowledge of how to keep the evil stepmom away
- the talent to keep drugs, alcohol, and firearms away from an often suicidal man
- stalling techniques to keep anyone from  coming home with her, ever
- signature-forging on school forms

These are skills most high schoolers don't need to perfect in order to keep a parent alive. 

The Impossible Knife of Memory
 by Laurie Halse Anderson. 391 pages. 2014: Speak (Penguin). Booktalk to high school (use discretion).

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