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Memoirs of an Imaginary Friend: A Novel Paperback – May 7, 2013
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“A novel as creative, brave, and pitch-perfect as its narrator, an imaginary friend named Budo, who reminds us that bravery comes in the most unlikely forms. It has been a long time since I read a book that has captured me so completely, and has wowed me with its unique vision. You've never read a book like this before. As Budo himself might say: Believe me.” ―Jodi Picoult, New York Times bestselling author of Sing You Home
“Wholly original and completely unputdownable. MEMOIRS OF AN IMAGINARY FRIEND is a captivating story told in a voice so clever and honest I didn't want it to end. The arresting voice of THE CURIOUS INCIDENT OF THE DOG IN THE NIGHT-TIME with the emotional power of ROOM and the whimsy of DROP DEAD FRED, but in a class of its own.” ―Eleanor Brown, New York Times bestselling author of The Weird Sisters
“An incredibly captivating novel about the wonder of youth and the importance of friendship, whether real or imagined. Delightfully compelling reading.” ―Booklist
“[A] fun read and engaging exploration of the vibrant world of a child's imagination.” ―Publishers Weekly
“Quirky and heartwarming” ―Kirkus
“Funny, poignant . . . Budo's world is as realistic as he is imaginary. We would all be lucky to have Budo at our sides. Reading his memoir is the next best thing.” ―Library Journal
About the Author
MATTHEW DICKS is a writer and elementary school teacher. His articles have been published in the Hartford Courant and he has been a featured author at the Books on the Nightstand retreat. He is also a Moth storyteller and a two-time StorySLAM champion. Dicks is the author of two previous novels, Something Missing and Unexpectedly Milo. He lives in Newington, Connecticut, with his wife, Elysha, and their children, Clara and Charlie.
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-- Debra Hamel
"I live in a strange place in the world," Budo says. "I live in the space in between people. I spend most of my time in the kid world with Max, but I also spend a lot of time with adults like Max's parents and teachers...except they can't see me."
Max has Asperger's Syndrome, and while his mother wants to send him to therapists and doctors to help him get better, his father believes Max is just a late bloomer who will change when he's ready, as long as he's treated like every other child. Max likes his routine, he likes his toys, he loves his teacher, Mrs. Gosk, and storytime, and he hates change. Change makes him "stuck."
Budo wants to protect Max as best as any imaginary friend can; he helps Max with his schoolwork and tries to help him navigate the bullies at school who want to hurt Max, like fifth-grader Tommy Swinden. More than anything, Budo wants Max to always need and believe in him, because Budo has seen what happens to other imaginary friends when their real friends stop believing in them--they stop existing.
When Mrs. Patterson, the woman (not a teacher) who sometimes helps Max at the Learning Center at school, kidnaps Max because she believes she could do a better job raising him, Budo doesn't know how to help. How can he save Max when he can't be heard by humans, or move things? He enlists the help of other imaginary friends to try and save Max, but he realizes that in order to save Max he might have to risk his own existence.
So many times reading this book, I couldn't believe Matthew Dicks' creativity. This is a book narrated entirely by a child's imaginary friend. The world that Dicks has created is so unique and well-developed, and while I didn't have an imaginary friend growing up, I almost would like one know if he could be like Budo. While he understands the world around him a little better than Max does, he still has a somewhat limited base of knowledge. His narrative voice is both wise and child-like, and it made the book so tremendously enjoyable and poignant.
I was a little skeptical when I heard about the concept of this book, but I was hooked from the very first page. These characters are wonderful ones you'll want to take into your heart, and although you probably will have an idea of how the story will resolve, the way it unfolds is just wonderful. This is a great book even if you're not a kid at heart, but if you are, I hope you love it as much as I did.