Friday, September 26, 2014

Book Review: Memoirs of an Imaginary Friend by Matthew Dicks

     Budo has been alive for four years. That’s much longer than most imaginary friends last. This is because his child, Max, is “on the spectrum” and cannot face the outer world alone. So Budo has accompanied him for far longer than most children need their imaginary friends. Budo knows, however, that one day Max will stop believing in him, and he will stop existing.

     All seems well for the moment; but then something terrible happens, and Budo must get the help of other imaginary friends to save Max—even if it means Budo must come to an end.

     This was a very odd book, but an amazing one. Budo is the audience surrogate, both into the world of imaginary friends and into Max’s very ordered world. Because Max is very intensely detailed, Budo is more human than the other imaginary friends, and can move around the world much easier. As such Budo is both more intelligent than the other characters, but at the same time more limited. In ways both good and bad Budo is incredibly human, and this is what makes the narrative so fascinating. I would have preferred a larger exploration of the world of imaginary friends. There is an element of “guardian angel” that’s rather compelling, but I think the story really isn’t just about Budo growing as a character, but also Max. Max must learn to handle the things that frighten him, as well as he can with autism.

     This was a wonderful book, and the end was somewhat bittersweet, but also contained a pleasant surprise.

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