Memoirs of an Imaginary Friend by Matthew Dicks
Published by St. Martin’s Press, an imprint of Macmillan
Review copy received at SIBA
Budo is the imaginary friend of eight-year-old Max Delaney. Budo has been around longer than most imaginary friends, as Max’s Asperger’s Syndrome makes it difficult for him to make friends at his school, so he continues to believe in Budo long after the age at which most kids drop their imaginary friends. Budo loves Max and would do anything to protect him and be in his life forever. But when Max disappears one day, only Budo knows what happened to him, and he might just have to risk everything to save Max. Including his own existence.
Why did I wait so long to read this book? I cannot tell you how charmed I was by Budo’s story and how deeply these characters crept into my heart. Also, the creativity required to write an entire book from the point of view of an imaginary friend astounds me!
So, Budo is very likable, and although, yes, he is imaginary, he is completely real to Max, which makes him actually real. After all, perception is reality, right? So it takes only about five seconds of reading this book for the reader to know, 100%, that Budo is real. And as the book goes on, he becomes even more real as his experiences are so much more realistic than you can possibly imagine. The interesting thing about Budo is that he’s very childlike in certain ways – he’s had the same education Max has had, so he’s basically eight years old – but in other ways he’s very adult and perceptive, since he goes out and does things when Max is sleeping. He understands things about the world and about people that Max can’t even begin to grasp.
I hadn’t read a ton of reviews of this one so I was unprepared for the part when Max disappears, but apparently that’s common knowledge so it’s really not a spoiler. What would be more of a spoiler is the reason for his disappearance, so I won’t talk about that. What I will say is that this book deals with a serious event, and while it’s not dealt with lightly, it isn’t with a heavy hand, either. What I liked most about the plot is that Memoirs of an Imaginary Friend takes this very real thing and turns it into an adventure of sorts, in a way that was totally unexpected and brings unique and interesting characters into the story (Budo is not the only imaginary friend Dicks creates). It worked in such a fantastic way that it needs to be experienced, rather than explained.
I listened to the audio of Memoirs of an Imaginary Friend and it was truly an amazing experience. The narrator, Matthew Brown, made a great Budo and I was fully invested in the book from start to finish. I would definitely recommend going the audio route if you can.
This book is fantastic! I loved it, and listening to it made the experience even better, if even possible. Highly recommended.