Review: Memoirs of an Imaginary Friend by Matthew Green

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 – four years – because Max needs him more. His parents argue about sending him to a special school. But 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…

Narrated by Budo, this story follows him as he tries to protect Max from the world and the people in it. It’s never fully explained in the story, but Max has problems with social integration (I assume Asperger’s?).

Memoirs of an Imaginary Friend is not at all what I expected. But I couldn’t stop reading. As someone who had an imaginary friend as a child,  I think they were explained so well. The idea that they are there to look out for the child until they are no longer needed is a very comforting thought, especially for parents who have a child with an imaginary friend.

I don’t usually enjoy these kinds of stories because they’re sad and a bit close to life for my liking. But the fact that the book is narrated by the imaginary friends changes the story completely. We see the world from a completely different angle.

I love the fact that the imaginary friend are so unlike each other. They are such an important part of the story, so I’m glad author didn’t skimp on the details. I almost found myself believing in the story because it captures the imagination of children so well.

There’s a part, that warmed and broke my heart at the same time, where the imaginary friend of a terminally ill child is disappearing. While the other imaginary friends are wondering what will happen when she dies, her imaginary friend just wants to watch over her until she goes.

It almost feels as if this book was written by a child, because it focuses on so many things that adults miss. The way it’s written means that it could fit anywhere between young adult and adult fiction. It’s so easy to follow, but at the same time it’s so descriptive and unusual. I have never read a story like it.

If you enjoy books like The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, you’ll love Memoirs of an Imaginary Friend. Or if you’re looking for a change of genre this is a good one to go for.

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