Thank You for Being a Friend

Sometimes you just stumble across a great book! I’m not sure how this one landed in my lap. I think it may have been a “Recommended for You” find. But I bought it so I could have a book in the queue when I was finished Bridget Jones and I wanted to try something different. I’m so glad I did and I can’t wait to share this book with everyone who asks me what they should read next!

Book # 8- Memoirs of an Imaginary Friend, Matthew Dicks

Memoirs Rating: 5- I’d read it again!

Synopsis: Budo is an imaginary friend. He was imagined by Max 5 years ago and unlike other imaginary friends, Budo looks very much like a normal person. Budo can talk to Max and Max to Budo. Budo can hear everything that everyone says, but only Max can hear what Budo says. Budo can pass through doors and run and ride the bus and learn new things. Budo can do anything that Max imagined possible for him. He does not sleep and he cannot move or manipulate things in the physical world.  Budo can see and communicate with other imaginary friends.

Max imagined Budo to be is friend because Max doesn’t like other people. Max doesn’t understand their questions or their sarcasm. He struggles to make choices even between the simplest things. He is very particular about when and how he does things. He doesn’t care for affection, even from his parents. Budo helps Max navigate through the world. When something upsets Max, Budo tries to help him calm down so he wont get “stuck;” an episode of  screaming, rocking and eventually blank staring that Max will not remember.  When Max gets stuck on Halloween Budo walks to the nearby gas station and witnesses something horrible. That sets into motion a series of events that causes Budo to question whether he is trying to protect Max or make Max continue to believe in imaginary friends so Budo will continue to exist. Budo’s biggest fear is that Max will stop thinking about him and he will fade away.

My Impressions: I truly loved this book. The voice given to Budo was a perfect combination of worldly and naive. He explained complicated topics that were beyond Max’s understanding but also reasoned through new ideas (like a coma) to arrive at his own conclusions, much in the way that children do.  When reading a fantasy story, I have only one requirement; that the fantasy concepts adhere to the established rules. You can’t change the rules in the middle to help the plot! The rules to this story are that Budo can do what Max imagined for him and he exists as long as Max believes that he does. There was never a time that I was distracted from the story because something didn’t quite fit into the rules. The other thing I loved about this story was Budo’s genuine love for Max and his loyalty to protect him from anything that might hurt him. If only all kids had that kind of omnipresent protection.

Why you should read it: This book draws you in quickly and has you turning pages for more. It’s a really touching story about friendship with a great deal of fantasy and suspense. There is a lot left to the reader to fill in given the perspective of the narrator, but it’s easy to imagine the sides of the story that aren’t on the page. If you ever had an imaginary friend, or your children have, you’ll definitely relate to Budo and Max.

Book #8 in the bag!

“A book is a device to ignite the imagination.” ― Alan Bennett, The Uncommon Reader

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