Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Memoirs of an Imaginary Friend

by Matthew Dicks
published: St. Martin's Press, 2012
pages: 311

Budo is as lucky as imaginary friends can get.  He's one of the longest living and he'd like to keep it that way.  Max needs him for every day life, and Budo would like to keep it that way.  His parents argue about sending him to a special school for help, but Max is content as long as everything stays the same.  He even likes his teacher.  However, Max's life is about to get rocked.  How could anybody see, especially Max, that major change is just around the corner and he'll need Budo more than ever to survive.

This book gives insight to a child on the spectrum.  It's one of those books I think most everyone should read to get a bitter understanding of disabilities and how children with autism in any capacity think and function.

Max is an incredibly bright kid and it's amazing to be to be able to see how he thinks and internalizes.  It's fascinating to see how difficult he finds it to make the simplest decisions like which pair of socks to wear.  He grows so much in so many little ways in the book, it's amazing how each little bit of change creates so much character growth.

It's interesting because one of the things that Max hates is change.  He likes things to be consistent and predictable. Yet, he isn't constant at all.  I would argue that he does the most changing in the book; his character growth is staggering.

Budo, Max's imaginary friend, narrates the story and has an entire life outside of Max which I find so incredible and confusing.  I'm still contemplating how someone that comes out of Max's imagination can be anything other than Max's conscience.  He's such an interesting character, complex in every way that a human would be.  He's loyal and considerate but also selfish and lonely, his spectrum of emotions knows no bounds.  I love that the story was told by Budo because he's only able to communicate with Max and other imaginary friends.  He gives an interesting point of view of the story and allows for dramatic irony to be used in a great way.  

Dramatic irony is used at it's best in the story.  I have a love/hate relationship with dramatic irony, here's why:  I love knowing all the details.  I love it.  BUT I hate that the characters don't know what I know.  I find myself yelling at characters because how could they have missed important information that was right in front of them.  Or how could that character be so blind!  I find myself stressing out for the characters.  It's a battle, but Matthew Dicks, employs dramatic irony is a best fashion.  He had me pulling hair and cursing under my breath.

Matthew Dicks writes an incredibly compelling narrative about a little boy and his imaginary friend.  The writing is captivating, I am excited to see what else he has to offer.

Stars: 4/5


"A chipper narrative and lively climax make Dick's newest a fun read and engaging exploration of vibrant world of child's imagination."
     --Publishers Weekly

"...Dick's novel will appeal to those with a soft spot for vulnerable, kindhearted protagonists.  Dicks perfectly captures Max's autistic qualities, and Budo is an accomplished narrator.  An incredibly captivating novel about the wonder of youth and the importance of friendship, whether real or imagined.  Delightfully compelling reading."

"An endearing tale of love, loyalty and the extraordinary power of a child's imagination."
     --Glamour UK

An Eclectic Reader 2015 Challenge book!

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