There are millions of veteran parents who suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Kids from our schools and communities are impacted. Awareness is crucial. Research is finding that the victims' nightmares, flashbacks, and panic attacks can alter parenting behaviors which can influence and shape a child's behavior. A study compared partnered parent vets with single parent vets and the single vets faced the most extreme symptoms. The Impossible Knife of Memory by Laurie Halse Anderson is an authentic young adult portrayal of a teen dealing with her father's sickness.
Hayley Kincain is in high school and takes care of her suffering father, Andy. They're constantly on the move, running from the terror, and temporarily living in the dilapidated house that once belonged to her grandmother. Hayley's mother passed away when Hayley was a child and Andy is struggling to survive the torment of PTSD. It's clear from the beginning that Hayley is strong yet she's still navigating her way through the world of everyday high school life. She's smart but without the support from home, she isn't reaching her potential. There is nothing in her life that gives her peace or joy or any possibility of a normal living existence. Her friend's box of pills tempts her but then she meets, Finn. A middle-class "normal" boy who becomes the desire of Hayley's heart. Each moment together, she experiences a break from her otherwise unstable life. But Finn's life isn't as "normal" as she first believed and she realizes that everything is not what is seems. Hayley is faced with the decision to face her father's illness. But can she maintain the parts of her life that make her happy at the same time? Click the above image to view the book trailer.
I highly recommend this young adult novel to older teens. Although, there is swearing and subtle sexual content, the voice is strong and brings to life the painful truth that so many of our youth face today. Laurie Halse Anderson is a truly gifted writer. She has many other great books including historical fiction novels. Below are two others I've read and also highly recommend. Speak is for older teens whereas Fever, 1793 is appropriate for younger teens.
Click the images to view the book trailers.