Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Review: Memoirs of an Imaginary Friend by Matthew Green

Budo is an imaginary friend desperate not to be forgotten, because when a child forgets about his/her imaginary friend, they disappear forever. Budo is lucky because Max isn't like other children; he 'lives mostly on the inside' and has trouble communicating and making friends, so he has relied on Budo for a long time.

One day something terrible happens to Max, and Budo is the only one who has any hope of saving him - but he can't do it alone, and soon his loyalty to Max is tested to the very limit.

Despite reading some very bad reviews of this book, I actually really enjoyed it. The idea of imaginary friends really existing, being able to interact with one another and trying to help each other not to be forgotten is a lovely concept. At first I was hoping that this wouldn't be all that happened in the story, but it did get really exciting and Max being autistic added another element of conflict.

The narrative style is very stilted and simplistic. This is on purpose to reflect Budo's interpretation of Max's autistic behaviours and speech patterns, but it does get a little irritating after a while and I feel like it could have been written more conventionally and still had the same effect. The story itself would have been enough to convey how difficult it is for everyone involved to cope with autism.

The blurb compares this book with 'The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time' and 'Room' (click to read my review) which is actually spot-on, as it is basically a combination of the two, with the addition of imaginary friends to the mix! Although I feel that this doesn't do quite as good a job of explaining autism as 'The Curious Incident', and it is (thankfully) a lot less gut-wrenching than 'Room', although there are still some weepy moments throughout.

Overall, this was a really enjoyable read despite the voice of the narrator. What starts as a deceptively light hearted premise tackles some really big issues and towards the end will leave you frantically trying to finish it to find out whether everything is okay in the end! If you're anything like me, it will also leave you feeling very guilty for all the imaginary friends you forgot about - and inadvertently killed - when you were little.


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