Saturday, March 30, 2013

March Read - Memoirs of an Imaginary Friend

Memoirs of an Imaginary Friend - Matthew Dicks

Synopsis (as taken [and edited for accuracy] from Goodreads):  
Budo is Max's imaginary friend. But though only Max can see him, he is real. He and the other imaginary friends watch over their children until the day comes that the child stops imagining them. And then they're gone. Budo has lasted a lot longer than most imaginary friends--five years--because Max needs him more. Max is perfectly happy if everything is just kept the way it is, and nothing out of the ordinary happens. Unfortunately, something out of the ordinary is going to happen--and then he'll need Budo more than ever.

S’s Rating:  ❤❤❤❤ 1/2 (out of five hearts)

D’s Rating:  ❤❤❤❤ 1/2 (out of five hearts)

S’s Thoughts:

My younger sister, L, had an imaginary friend as a child.  She called her "Amy" and Amy was responsible for pretty much everything L did to get into trouble.  Amy obviously dumped the toys out everywhere, not L.  Amy hit me, not L.  Was it L who ripped the pages out of a book?  Nope.  Amy, obviously.  And then one day in the car, and I remember this so vividly, our mother asked L about Amy... I think it had been a while since Amy had last made an appearance.  L, who was maybe 6 years old at the most, replied matter-of-factly that Amy was gone.  She'd died in a fire.

Needless to say, we were pretty creeped out.  So that was the end of Amy--killed off soap opera style in a fire.

I don't remember ever having an imaginary friend of my own... though I guess that's one of the points of Dick's novel.  Once you forget about your imaginary friend, stop needing them, they're gone for good. 

Memoirs of an Imaginary Friend was a sweet little book with some seriously sinister and sad undertones.  Max is a lonely little boy who suffers from a form of autism.  We're not actually told this but his nuances, triggers and personality make it quite clear from the get-go.  Max doesn't have any friends except for Budo, his imaginary and very perceptive companion.  It is Budo who narrates the novel--an interesting idea to have an invisible character narrate the story without making him omnipotent.

I really enjoyed Memoirs of an Imaginary Friend; it was a quick and addictive read and I'd recommend it to just about anyone... especially those who had imaginary friends themselves!

Standout Quotes:

"The world can be so complicated for Max.  Even when he gets something right, it can still go wrong."

"Jo-Jo leans closer to me.  'Does that mean we aren't real?' 'No,' I say.  'It just means that we are a different kind of real.  It's a kind of real that adults don't understand, so they just assume that we're imaginary.'"

"You have to be the bravest person in the world to go out every day being yourself when no on likes who you are.  I could never be as brave as Max."

Album to listen to while reading this book: Not sure why but The Beatles come to mind for this one... one of their older (less psychedelic!) albums for sure.

D’s Thoughts:

When I was younger, I did not so much have an imaginary friend, but rather an entire "school" of ones. I'm pretty sure it was modeled off of the early Harry Potter movies I loved so dearly, but otherwise I don't remember them much.

Memoirs of an Imaginary Friend, having been written from the point of view of an autistic third-grader's "friend", appears to at first be meant for the late elementary school age range. However, rest assured that any adult who reads will find it impossible to put the book down once the exposition and explanation of situation are complete. As S stated, there are many sinister qualities to this book as well.

Speaking of situation, Matthew Dicks did an excellent job in consideration of the qualities of imaginary friends. For example, it is continually mentioned throughout the book that some "friends" are not imagined fully, and that many are missing ears and eyebrows simply because their young creators forgot. Such detail supports that the author was incredibly invested in his story, and the outstanding product as a whole proves it.

I suppose I love this story because it includes many things--like the eyebrow-less imaginary friends and the reasoning behind the antagonist's deeds--I never personally would have thought of myself. It was more than worth staying up late to finish...proceeded by bawling my eyes out as though I was no older than 6 when it was over. 

Yes, I cried. I'm not ashamed.

Standout Quotes:

"I sometimes think that neat and organized people spend too much time planning and not enough time doing. I don't trust neat and organized people."  

"Monsters are bad things, but monsters that do not walk and talk like monsters are the worst."

 Album to listen to while reading this book: I honestly have no idea, but to keep with the kid theme, I'm gonna stick with Saint-Saens' The Carnival of the Animals. Each movement is rather short and innocent, much like the life of most imaginary friends.


April’s book is D’s choice and is Such a Pretty Girl by Laura Wiess.

See you soon! S & D

1 comment:

  1. I'm so happy that you both enjoyed the book! Thanks so much for taking the time to review it. I love the sister-sister format of the blog (my friend and I did something similar years ago but yours is much better!), and the quotes and music suggestions are a great addition to a review.

    And if I ever write a sequel to MEMOIRS, I may just use that "She died in a fire" line at some point. So interesting that you would kill off your imaginary friend so specifically! And so heartlessly!

    Thanks again for the review and the tweet and most of all for choosing my story. That is always the great honor of all.


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