Five words from the blurb: boy, danger, loyalty, imagination, friend
Memoirs of an Imaginary Friend has the most original premise I’ve come across this year. The book is narrated by Budo, an imaginary friend who explains what life is like for those who only exist because a human has thought of them. Most live brief lives with young children, but Budo is special. Budo was imagined by Max, an 8-year-old boy with autism. Because Max has autism his attention to detail is excellent and so Budo is very life-like – unlike most other imaginary friends he even has ears! Budo can talk to Max and other imaginary friends, but cannot communicate with other people or touch anything in the real world. One day Max disappears and Budo is the only one who can save him. This leads to a thrilling, entertaining plot that is packed with emotion.
I am drawn towards books that deal with autism and this one did a fantastic job of showing the condition in a realistic, but positive light. Matthew Green’s career as a teacher has obviously helped him to understand children and this engaging story was filled with lovely little details about school life.
There were a few moments when I became frustrated by the plot – in the middle it became far fetched and I could see easier ways for Max to be rescued. But as this is a children’s book I’ll give it the benefit of the doubt – especially since the plot was so compelling.
There were also times when it got a bit too sentimental for me, but on the whole the messages were good and so I’ll forgive this too.
The audio book narration was wonderful! Matthew Brown was perfect, effortlessly managing all the different voices and capturing the heartache and emotion of the situation. I’m not sure I’d have enjoyed it as much if I’d read the print edition. The style reminded me of My Sister Lives on the Mantelpiece and I’m sure that anyone who enjoyed Annabel Pitcher’s book will also like this one.
Because it addresses so many issues this book would make a fantastic classroom resource for older children. Themes of bullying, death, friendship and disability could all be discussed. The fact that most of the problems were faced by imaginary friends somehow made them less oppressive. But this isn’t just a book for children; as an adult I loved the original approach and was charmed by Budo’s insight in human behaviour.
This has become one of my favourite books with an autistic character. Recommended.
Many thanks to Bay State Reader’s Advisory for drawing this book to my attention!
The thoughts of other bloggers:
I listened to the entire 10 hour audiobook over the course of a single day because I just could not bear to put it down. Devourer of Books
….for all the suspense, the writing wasn’t quite as tight as Emma Donoghue’s in Room. Capricious Reader
That Matthew Dicks crafted his novel in such a way as to give an almost 3D view of the life of a child with emotional and social issues impressed me. The Literate Housewife