Everyone Should Have an Imaginary Friend like Budo

Winnipeg Free Press, August 25, 2012 | Go to article overview

Everyone Should Have an Imaginary Friend like Budo


BUDO is a good friend to eight-year-old Max. When the woman who works with Max in the learning centre is about to do something terrible, Budo is the only one who can save him.

But even though he narrates this eccentric novel, Budo is not real. He is imaginary. And Max is the only person who can see him.

If you are looking for a somewhat suspenseful, quick read in the vein of Room or The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, then this quirky and almost Stephen King-like tale is for you.

Memoirs of an Imaginary Friend is the third novel from Matthew Dicks, a Connecticut-based elementary school teacher, and it's clear that he has a fondness for offbeat and unconventional characters.

Max may have Asperger's Syndrome, an autism spectrum disorder characterized by problems with social interaction and sometimes intense interests in mechanical things. Dicks shows us through Budo what it's like for a young boy who lives in his head.

More than anything, Max likes to be alone and he loves his Lego and toy soldiers. His parents argue constantly about how to deal with him.

Budo loves to wander through gas stations and children's hospitals at night, because they are always open and because he does not sleep. There, he meets and observes all kinds of unusual characters, some imaginary and some not. Along the way he genuinely begins to care for many of them.

When Max's life becomes endangered by the delusional and scheming Mrs. Patterson, Budo must try to enlist the help of other imaginary friends in order to save him. …

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