Written by: Matthew Dicks
Narrated by:Mathew Brown
Published by: Macmillan Audio August 2012
Length: 10 hours 57 minutes
Source: Purchased via Audible
Uniquely told from the point of view of Budo, Max’s imaginary friend this book captured my interest right away. Max is special, from what we can learn from Budo, Max is likely mildly autistic. Budo is privy to everything in Max’s world, though not all imaginary friends are as flexible as Budo is. He is just as Max imagined him, and all that Max has needed him to be. Max’s parents are considering sending him to a special school, but Max is really fine, as long as the nice teachers are with him, and the bullies stay away. Budo clearly helps him when things get scary for Max. This is exactly as Budo wants it, because if Max doesn’t need him…well he just goes away. Budo has seen other imaginary friends disappear, and he doesn’t want it happening to him. In a bizarre turn of events something happens to Max, that only Budo can help him out of….if only Budo can find him….
I found the premise for this book to be fascinating. I too had an imaginary friend between the ages of 4 and 5. My parents chalked it up to my Dad beginning to travel so much with work and me coping with it in anyway I could. One day my dad showed up with a doll, and voila I named her my imaginary friend’s name and she was real…and not just in my head. Matthew Dicks takes this same type of concept and writes this story with the insight into a child’s mind that is rare and intriguing. Just to create the concepts of how imaginary friends live, and can often see and talk to other imaginary friends, well it’s genius! Matthew is a self described story teller and also a teacher.
The audio production of this book was well done, I wasn’t familiar with Mathew Brown but his youthful voice and easy inflections gave great character to Budo and the others around him.
This was the February choice for my book club and the discussion was interesting. Many of us had had our own imaginary friends, and others found the whole set up odd and not so captivating.
I’ve given this book a 3.5 out of 5 stars. I liked it a lot, some of the adventures and details of Budo were far fetched, but in whole I thought each adventure he had in helping Max was well played with the climax of the book. I’d recommend this one to anyone with an active imagination. You can learn more about Matthew Dicks works and life on his website.http://matthewdicks.com/