Published by: Sphere (Macmillan)
ISBN 13: 9780751547870
Published: March 2012
Format reviewed: Paperback
Site: Publisher Site
Goodreads: Book Page
Stars: Four out of Five
‘Memoirs of an Imaginary Friend’ by Matthew Green (published as Matthew Dicks in the US) is a unique tale of a young boy, told by his imaginary friend Budo. It’s an interesting point of view that works perfectly; we’re given a character that can know everything we need to, yet not the answer or the ending as we discover it together.
Max is an eight-year-old boy, possibly autistic (it is never specific) who has an imaginary friend he calls Budo, who tells us about Max’s world and about the other imaginary friends that exist. Imaginary friends come into existence knowing everything their creator knew at that specific point in time, and they fade into nothing once their creator forgets about them. They are able to learn more than their creator if they’re able to watch television or hear a conversation between others, but most imaginary friends do not like to leave their creators side. Budo is lucky that he was imagined to be able to walk through doors, which gives him a certain amount of freedom.
We see Max through Budo’s eyes, and are able to understand him clearer than the adults seem to. We discover what it’s like coping with not liking to be touched, or having to deal with too many choices, or not able to understand what’s so wrong with being perfectly happy in solitude. Although I don’t like comparing books to others, ‘Memoirs of an Imaginary Friend’ is quite like ‘The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time’ by Mark Haddon in that it describes a view into an otherwise generally unknown world.
The plot moves fast, yet has suspense. The characters aren’t ever completely described – you only get a sense of who they are and why they do what they do, which is a masterclass of showing rather than telling.
Although this book seems to be about Max, it is also about Budo, who, as he wasn’t imagined as needing to sleep, has his nights free to roam around. He visits service stations and hospitals, and we are introduced to characters there also, who become part of the story as a whole.
This book is over 400 pages and I read it in a day. No, even less than that, I read it in an afternoon. This book flowed perfectly and it was virtually impossible to put down. It was so easy to read, easier to absorb and wonderful to finish. The ending will make you smile.
Although this book is mainly about an eight-year-old, and doesn’t use difficult language, it is a novel for older teenagers and above. There are instances of strong and main plot may be a little delicate for some.
This review was originally posted at SentientOnline on the 1st April 2012 where it received a comment from the author!