Saturday, 28 April 2012

Memoirs of an Imaginary Friend - Matthew Green

Product DetailsMax is eight. He is probably somewhere at the lower end of the autistic scale, but wherever that is, his parents know that something is not quite right. His Dad wants him to grow up and play baseball, and watch Rambo films, and his Mom just wants him to be happy. He has no friends....... STOP! He does have a friend, a friend who is nearly six years old, called Budo; and Budo, along with hundreds of thousands of others in existence at this moment, is Max's imaginary friend. Yes, that's right, there are others, and Budo meets several of them. Some are clever, some are not, and they all have one thing in common - they exist exactly as they have been imagined. Big, small, heroic, stupid; whatever their imaginers imagined - here they are.

Although about a small boy, this book, narrated by Budo himself, is not a children's book. But it will give you an insight into chidren's minds - the secret places that they cannot tell you about, which is why some of them invent imaginary friends, and why some of them hang around for a long time. And sometimes, they get to look out for a child who is in great danger. Max is in danger, and only Budo can save him.

Matthew Green (in the UK, Dicks in the USA) has pulled off an extraordinary feat of fiction. He has given life to a friend that a child has invented - so much so that I loved Budo as much as any character I have read about. Matthew Green is a teacher, in New England, and somehow I know that he loves his job, loves kids and must be an inspiration to the kids he teaches. And he may not be trained as one, but what a philosopher he is. Whilst reading this book I was asked to believe in imaginary people, to consider life after death(or not), to consider how loss affects us all. I read Memoirs of an Imaginary Friend in 24 hours, getting up at 6.30 am this morning to finish the last 50 pages. Jodi Picoult says "You've never read a book like this before", and whether you are a fan of hers or not, that is certainly true. What I am however, is a fan of Matthew Green - forever, because of this moving story, which let me inside the mind of a child.
[copy of my Amazon review]