August 13, 2012
Memoirs of an Imaginary Friend
First sentence: "Here's what I know:"
Support your local independent bookstore: buy it there!
Review copy provided by my place of employment.
Release date: August 21, 2012
I'm kind of at a loss where to begin with this one. The owner at the bookstore handed it to me because it looks vaguely YA(ish), and imaginary friends have something to with kids, right?
But that isn't what this novel is at all.
In a fascinating approach to things, Dicks has written a novel from the imaginary friend's point of view. And, much in the way a fantasy writer creates a world, Dicks has created a whole world for Budo, nine-year-old Max's friend, to reside in. First off: just because Max is the only one who can see him, does not mean that Budo isn't real. He can see our world, experience our world, he just can't interact with other people. He can, however, interact with other imaginary friends, and from doing that, he's realized two things: 1) Max imagined him very well, because next to some of the other friends, Budo looks almost real; and 2) he's quite old -- being six -- and that is unusual. Most other imaginary friends don't last that long.
It starts out oddly; you don't know quite where Dicks is going with this story, especially since it becomes very clear early on that Max has some form of autism. Although it's never said outright, most of the signs are there. But as the story goes on, you realize that it's because Max is autistic that Budo exists. And that fact becomes crucial to the plot.
I'll be straight with you: I got to a certain point in the book, and I was afraid I'd have to abandon it because one character was abusing Max. That is not the case. There are scary, and sad, things going on, but it's not abuse, thankfully. Because the book is remarkable. Not only for the world building, but for the heartbreakingly honest way Budo reacts to the situations with Max, and ends up being the unsung hero. I rarely think books are "heartwarming", but I do think that of this one. Heartwarming, creative, unique.
Amazing. It will make you want to believe in imaginary friends all over again.
Labels: Adult Fiction