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Archive Book Review: The Knife of Never Letting Go

The Knife of Never Letting Go


Archive Book Review: The Knife of Never Letting Go

You know it’s a good book when I react to what’s happening out loud and my husband has to ask me if I’m okay

Book Review Date: July 15th, 2013

Written By: Patrick Ness

Cover Copy

Prentisstown isn’t like other towns. Everyone can hear everyone else’s thoughts in an overwhelming, never-ending stream of Noise. Just a month away from the birthday that will make him a man, Todd and his dog, Manchee–whose thoughts Todd can hear, too, whether he wants to or not–stumble upon an area of complete silence. They find that in a town where privacy is impossible, something terrible has been hidden–a secret so awful that Todd and Manchee must run for their lives. But how do you escape when your pursuers can hear your every thought?

The Knife of Never Letting Go


Y’all, this book was SO good. I finished it last night and am itching to get to the bookstore today and pick up the next one. You know it’s a good book when I react to what’s happening out loud and my husband has to ask me if I’m okay {haha}. Reasons why this book is great: the premise is frighteningly fascinating, the idea that everyone could hear everyone else’s thoughts. And the way the Noise is written is done so well– the typesetting adding a deliciously lovely visual layer that I feel works perfectly. And the main character, Todd, his voice… it’s really well done. I love the misspellings of certain words that really showcase the idea that he knows what they mean but can’t, even in his head, picture the correct spelling because he doesn’t know how to read/write well enough. {Case in point: “confirmayshun”or “direkshuns” and such}. And the animals — their thoughts are exactly what you’d imagine they’d be… especially the dog, Manchee, whose lines often made me laugh because they’re just so perfectly dog-like {“Poo, Todd” and “Ow, Todd” and barking “jump!” as he jumps over a log}. And the mystery of what is going on. And the way, I swear, every chapter ends on a cliffhanger that will make you say “one more chapter and then I’ll stop” just way too often. There are so many reasons why this book is great. I’m so glad I picked it up.

The Knife of Never Letting Go

First Line

The first thing you find out when yer dog learns to talk is that dogs don’t got nothing much to say.

Favorite Lines 

  • …and I can smell the breath that comes outta his mouth, smell the weight of it, like fingers grabbing for me.
  • Whereas the town knows all about you already and wants to know more and wants to beat you with what it knows till how can you have any of yerself left at all?
  • So something impossible has to be true.
  • …so much unbelievable silence that I start to feel really torn up, like I’m about to lose the most valuable thing ever, like there it is, a death, and I’m running and my eyes are watering and my chest is just crushing and there’s no one to see but I still mind and my eyes start crying, they start crying, they start effing crying, and I stop for a minute and I bend over and Jesus H. Dammit, you can just shut up right now…
  • Men lie, and they lie to theirselves worst of all.
  • So the thing to remember, the thing that’s most important of all that I might say in this here telling of things is that Noise ain’t truth, Noise is what men want to be true, and there’s a difference twixt those two things so big that it could ruddy well kill you if you don’t watch out.
  • He smiles and for a second it’s not an entirely true smile, for a second it’s a worried smile, but after that it’s a smile true enough.
  • WHAT THE EFF IS GOING ON?” I roar, but I don’t say “eff” now do I? Cuz it seems the situashun calls for something a little stronger.
  • That’s the thing, tho. Noise is noise. It’s crash and clatter and it usually adds up to one big mash of sound and thought and picture and half the time it’s impossible to make any sense of it at all. Men’s minds are messy places and Noise is like the active, breathing face of that mess. It’s what’s true and what’s believed and what’s imagined and what’s fantasized and it says one thing and a completely opposite thing at the same time and even tho the truth is definitely in there, how can you tell what’s true and what’s not when yer getting everything?
  • The Noise is a man unfiltered, and without a filter, a man is just chaos walking.
  • Suddenly it feels like just about the loneliest place in the whole wide world.
  • .I’m so confused and frightened and angry. Nothing was different in the world this morning when I got outta bed and now here I am … and it ain’t fair and I don’t know why it ain’t fair but it just ain’t fair.
  • …I hear his sadness everywhere.
  • And I don’t want to say no more about it. And I can’t say at all how it makes me feel.
  • We don’t say nothing more. What else is there to say? Everything and nothing. You can’t say everything, so you don’t say nothing.
  • This is it. This is good-bye. A good-bye I wasn’t even looking for.
  • Knowledge is dangerous and men lie and the world keeps changing, whether I want it to or not.
  • This makes no sense, no sense at all, and everything feels like it’s starting to slip, like the world is a table tilted on its side and everything on it is tipping over.
  • …they didn’t say nothing about why the quiet makes me ache so much I can barely stop from ruddy weeping, like I’m missing something so bad I can’t even think straight, like the emptiness ain’t in [spoilers], it’s in me and there ain’t nothing that’s ever gonna fix it.
  • It’s heavier than you’d think a thing made of words could be.
  • But a knife ain’t just a thing, is it? It’s a choice, it’s something you do. A knife says yes or no, cut or not, die or don’t. A knife takes a decision out of your hand and puts it in the world and it never goes back again.
  • When luck ain’t with you, it’s against you.
  • That’s the thing I’m learning about being thrown out on yer own. Nobody does nothing for you. If you don’t change it, it don’t get changed.
  • I don’t know what’s ahead … I don’t know nothing about nothing but whatever it is, it’s gotta be better than what’s behind. It’s gotta be.
  • …accent’s funny, different from mine, different from anyone in Prentisstown’s. [Their] lips make different kinds of outlines for the letters, like they’re swooping down ont hem from above, pushing them into shape, telling them what to say. In Prentisstown, everyone talks like they’re sneaking up on their words, ready to club them from behind.
  • I just want the world to make sense now and then, is that so wrong?
  • Ye’ve gotta be the ones in charge of yer own destinies, don’t ye?” // “Not so far.
  • No awful, awful, despairing longing nowhere I can hear or feel.
  • Ain’t nobody innocent … Nobody at all.
  • [V’s face is] so hopeful, so open and wide and ready for disappointment that I feel the familiar tug of sadness again, pulling all Noise into it like grief, like being lost.
  • A lot can happen in seven months.
  • Memory is stupid, ain’t it?.
  • And there’s yer lesson. There ain’t nothing good that don’t got real bad waiting to follow it.
  • …maybe the bad things that are waiting to happen to us won’t happen, maybe there’s happiness at the end of the left fork and warm places with the people who love us and no Noise but no silence neither and there’s plenty of food and no one dies and no one dies and no one never never dies.
  • There’s only forward … Outward and up.
  • …it was a big lie waiting for me to find out and this is the real life now, running without safety or answer.
  • That’s a lotta faith we’re putting in a word.
  • Eff you,” I say and do you think I say eff?
  • You might as well just crumple up the world I know and throw it away.
  • I start to weep but the pain from the grip of the weep is so bad that for a minute I feel paralyzed and a fire burns thru my arms and back and there’s nothing to do but suffer till it goes.
  • …I grit my teeth even harder and try to get to my feet. But it’s too much, the pain takes my legs from me…
  • I lean down again and (shut up) I cry, I cry, I’m crying but it has to pass cuz I have to figure it out, I have to figure it out…
  • This is the plan. It’s probably not a very good one but it’s all that my shimmering, flickering brain’s gonna let me have.
  • His absence is so big it’s like he’s there and all the air goes outta my lungs again and I have to wait and breathe deep and swallow.
  • But guessing a thing ain’t knowing a thing.
  • But there’s always hope … You always have to hope.
  • Doing what’s right should be easy. It shouldn’t be just another big mess like everything else.
  • It ain’t fair. … It ain’t … But there’s hope at the end of the road. You remember that.
  • …[away] for ever this time cuz how is there any life after this?
  • Life ain’t fair. It ain’t. Not never.
  • …and I think how hope may be the thing that pulls you forward, may be the thing that keeps you going, but that it’s dangerous, too, that it’s painful and risky, that it’s making a dare to the world and when has the world ever let us win a dare?
  • It’s a fantasy, a lie, but the lies of men are as vivid as their truths and I can see every bit of it.
  • I think maybe everybody falls,” I say. “I think maybe we all do. And I don’t think that’s the asking. … I think the asking is whether we get back up again.

Last Word

  • Prentisstown

Reader, Author, Bookstagrammer, and Mom; Alexis runs Nerdy Post, a fandom artwork box as well as serves as chief editor and writer on Drop and Give me Nerdy.

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