01 July 2012

Memoirs of an Imaginary Friend; Matthew Green

Memoirs of an Imaginary FriendMemoirs of an Imaginary Friend by Matthew Green
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Budo is the imaginary friend of Max, a third grader on the ASD continuum.  He's older than any other imaginary friend he's met and he has a pretty good understanding of what his role is and his limitations are: he's there to keep Max company, no one human (except Max) can see him, and he can go through walls and doors.  Since Max imagined him as a very human looking friend and as being a little older that Max is, his voice is more than of a fifth grader, even when he doesn't understand concepts like finding rocks in mines or visits to old, unused prisons.

Budo is also savvier than Max with a better understanding of human reactions/interactions and when Max starts doing something with Mrs. Patterson (whom Budo doesn't like or trust), Budo starts to worry.  Then Mrs. Peterson takes Max, and Budo is his only chance.

The conceit is an interesting one, with vague tinges of Pinocchio and The Velveteen Rabbit. What sets this apart is the concept of "death", or the disappearance of imaginary friends - once their human doesn't need them or believe in them any more, they vanish.  Budo's own existence is in question, given Max's age.

That makes the book difficult to sell: it's not quite an adult book, the idea of imaginary friends may turn off young adults, and a little too old for middle grade readers.  For those readers who find this, they'll enjoy it.

ARC provided by publisher.

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