Matthew Green | Memoirs of an Imaginary Friend
From the looks of its cover, you may interpret this novel as a novel for teenager/children. When you read the excerpt at the back, you will realise that the main characters of this story are an imaginary friend named Budo and his imaginer friend, Max. I should tell you that this book is anything but a book for teenagers or children. The story is far from being childish.
The story revolves around Budo, who looks like any other boy except for the fact that he’s an imaginary friend who has existed for five years. That is a long time for ‘people’ like him. His imaginer friend is a problematic eight-years-old Max. Imaginary friends [like Budo] watches over children [like Max] until they stop imagining their imaginary friends. In his school, Max is one odd kid, his parents think he has a problem since Max acts unlike other normal children, but Max loves the way he is, and Budo knows it very well. Still, a day comes when one dreadful incident occurs, and while Max’s parents and other people are helpless, Budo knows the truth and is forced to bring Max out of an impending calamity – a calamity that may break the life of Max’s dad and mom… and put an end to Budo’s own existence.
I think I’ve never seen a book that has an imaginary friend as the storyteller. This basically makes the story unique. The author has painstakingly given us the characteristics that enable us to realise ‘what is an imaginary friend’. Budo has only existed for five years, but he is way beyond his age. He is worried about his life and it does tick with us. We’re walking in this world, living, wondering where we will go the next day. The only difference: our life is not as precarious as the existence of Budo.
The relationship between Budo and Max is what propels this story the most. It’s not about Budo trying to help Max to a better kid – it’s about Budo’s determination to just be with Max whenever he needs him, because Max, as Budo tells us, is his God, his creator. It’s also about the life of Budo. It’s a book about him, an imaginary friend who doesn’t want to be forgotten and die like so many others. Of course other characters stand out too, namely Mrs. Gosk [I’d love to be in her class], Max’s Dad and Mom, and Oswald, especially Oswald.
There are moments in the story that will pull you in. Some are funny, some are sad, some are suspenseful, some are poignant. Some may hurt you, especially that one scene involving Mom and Dad. I think that one just rips my heart to pieces and I don’t even know why. Besides that, this book is really clever with its lines. Many are thought-provoking or sharp-witted. A lot of those thoughts contrast with the way Budo tells his story: simple and straightforward, but I can understand that.
If you want a heartwarming story with just the prefect dosage of every emotion… and a whole lot of imagination, then this book is for you.
[Suddenly, I find myself wanting to have Budo. Oh well]