100 Book Challenge, Fantasy, Fiction

Book #8: Memoirs of an Imaginary Friend

I was positive I’d reviewed this book.  I scoured the blog for the post I was sure I had written, but came up empty.  Then I checked Goodreads and found I’d read it in 2012, but in November, after the great drought had begun on the blog.  If only I could have kept it together for a few more months so I could have written my first impressions!  Reading it a second time was definitely worth it, and I’ll finally write the review.

Matthew Dicks had a great idea.  What if imaginary friends actually exist, but they are still products of someone’s imagination?  The first time I read this, I didn’t put too much thought into this concept, just accepted it and enjoyed the story.  But this time I found myself thinking about parallel dimensions and the power of the mind to create.  I guess that’s the benefit of a second read, that you can go deeper on some ideas.  Budo, Max’s imaginary friend and the writer of the memoir, knows all the rules, but he is one to ask questions and wonder.  It surprises him that other imaginary friends don’t worry about their existence or their inevitable demise.   To be fair though, Budo has seen more than most, having been around for five years, which is practically ancient for an imaginary friend.  Imaginary friends can only be heard by their human friend and other imaginary friends.  Budo has friends in the human world who he loves to observe and imaginary friends, who vary in intelligence and appearance.

Budo loves Max and is very protective of him, helping him choose what color of socks to wear and what to eat.  It’s obvious to the reader and to Budo that Max is autistic, or at least on the spectrum, but his father is in denial.  His mom is getting Max the interventions he needs, but school and life are just rough for Max.  Budo makes it easier and Budo also knows that his existence depends on how much Max needs him.

This is such a great story and what I’ve written so far could carry it really far.  But Dicks wrote so much more into the story.  There is so much struggle, conflict and suspense that, even though I’ve read it before and know exactly what would happen, I found myself once again devouring the story and flying through to the end.  And Dicks creates a very scary and almost relatable villain, Mrs. Patterson.  I get shivers thinking about her.

Part of what drew me to this book was the fact that a few of my kids had imaginary friends.  My oldest’s imaginary friends were Florna, her mother and her naughty little brother, Sis.  My fourth’s imaginary friends were Pinky and Bucket.  Pinky was evil and Bucket worse.  My kids’ imaginary friends probably would have given Budo nightmares, but I love how real they were to my kids.

I’m so glad one of the presenters at the LTUE conference mentioned this book!  It was definitely worth a second read and gets a big recommendation from me.

Goodreads rating: five stars, but watch out for some bad language.  Not prolific, but I want to give you a heads up.



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has written 287 articles on Red Hot Eyebrows.

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