Author: Matthew Dicks
Where I got it: From NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review
Budo is lucky as imaginary friends go. He's been alive for more than five years, which is positively ancient in the world of imaginary friends. But Budo feels his age, and thinks constantly of the day when eight-year-old Max Delaney will stop believing in him. When that happens, Budo will disappear.
Max is different from other children. Some people say that he has Asperger’s Syndrome, but most just say he’s “on the spectrum.” None of this matters to Budo, who loves Max and is charged with protecting him from the class bully, from awkward situations in the cafeteria, and even in the bathroom stalls. But he can’t protect Max from Mrs. Patterson, the woman who works with Max in the Learning Center and who believes that she alone is qualified to care for this young boy.
When Mrs. Patterson does the unthinkable and kidnaps Max, it is up to Budo and a team of imaginary friends to save him—and Budo must ultimately decide which is more important: Max’s happiness or Budo's very existence.
Narrated by Budo, a character with a unique ability to have a foot in many worlds—imaginary, real, child, and adult— Memoirs of an Imaginary Friend touches on the truths of life, love, and friendship as it races to a heartwarming . . . and heartbreaking conclusion.
I have to qualify this review by disclosing that I only finished about half of this book, not because I thought it was bad, but it just wasn’t holding my attention and I was ready to move on. I may come back to it someday, because I love the concept behind the story.
Memoirs of an Imaginary Friend is told from Budo’s perspective. He’s been “alive” for longer than any other imaginary friend he knows, probably because is human, Max, has trouble interacting with the world around him, and would likely be diagnosed somewhere on the Autism spectrum. Regardless, Budo and Max work really well together, because Budo helps Max to navigate those social situations that he finds so challenging. Until one day, Max starts keeping secrets from Budo, that eventually lead to him being kidnapped.
The challenge I personally had while reading this book is that it’s obviously written for adult readers, but it’s written from the perspective of a very young child’s imaginary friend. The gap was just too large for me to really get past, because the language and expression seem so young, while trying to address more complex issues to appeal to a “grown up.” Really, that was my only problem with the book, but it made it difficult to get fully invested in the characters and the story.
While this wasn’t the book for me, I would still suggest it for readers who have younger children and are more prepared to bridge the gap between simple language and complex ideas.