Memoirs of an Imaginary Friend by Matthew Dicks

Where imaginary is better than real.

Synopsis of Memoirs of an Imaginary Friend by Matthew DicksImaginary friend Budo narrates this heartwarming story of love, loyalty, and the power of the imagination—the perfect read for anyone who has ever had a friend . . . real or otherwise.  

Budo is lucky as imaginary friends go. He's been alive for more than five years, which is positively ancient in the world of imaginary friends. But Budo feels his age, and thinks constantly of the day when eight-year-old Max Delaney will stop believing in him. When that happens, Budo will disappear.

Max is different from other children. Some people say that he has Asperger’s Syndrome, but most just say he’s “on the spectrum.” None of this matters to Budo, who loves Max and is charged with protecting him from the class bully, from awkward situations in the cafeteria, and even in the bathroom stalls. But he can’t protect Max from Mrs. Patterson, the woman who works with Max in the Learning Center and who believes that she alone is qualified to care for this young boy. 

When Mrs. Patterson does the unthinkable and kidnaps Max, it is up to Budo and a team of imaginary friends to save him—and Budo must ultimately decide which is more important: Max’s happiness or Budo's very existence.  

Narrated by Budo, a character with a unique ability to have a foot in many worlds—imaginary, real, child, and adult— Memoirs of an Imaginary Friend touches on the truths of life, love, and friendship as it races to a heartwarming . . . and heartbreaking conclusion.

My two cents

The book in one sentence: A heartwarming story of friendship, as experienced by Budo, Max's imaginary friend.

My heart just melted with this story. It is sweet and heartwarming, and it has an honest voice. I was initially intrigued by the title and the premise ... whoever would've thought that an imaginary friend would write a story?

The synopsis above is a bit more than I would've liked to reveal in terms of the plot. But I found this book quite special, and not just because of the story. Here's why:

1. The world building. Dicks does a wonderful job of creating the world and the psychology of imaginary friends. What is an imaginary friend? Why do they exist? What are imaginary friends like -- what do they look like, do they have superpowers, do they sleep? If they're imaginary, do they exist? From the big questions to the mundane, the author not only lets us into this other-world, he pulls us into it and ... 

2. Makes us care about imaginary friends! Especially Budo, who was imagined by Max Delaney, a young boy (who has some form of autism) needed a way to cope with the difficulties in life. Budo is just one among them. Throughout the book, we are introduced to a wide assortment of imaginary friends -- from the very human-looking Budo, to Puppy (who is in fact in the shape of a puppy), to a Pink Girl (who is like a balloon), to Oswald the Giant (who plays a special role in the story). While imaginary, they have their own personalities and back stories which can't help but make you care about them and their creators.  

3. It's about the time-honoured themes of friendship and sacrifice but it puts such an unusual twist on it that it sets this book apart. This tension -- both from Max's perspective with his deep-seated struggle to cope, and from Budo's viewpoint -- is drawn out and built up. The friendship between the imaginary and the real only highlights the paradox of what Budo has to accept as inevitable -- that when he ceases to exist, that Max has made the big step towards independence.

    If Max stays here, I could live for as long as Ma lives. I could live longer than any imaginary friend ever. Maybe if Max stays here in this room, we could both be happily ever after. (p. 183)

    I don't know how much of Max I am allowed to lose to save myself. (p. 187)
Verdict: Such a sweet and unusual story of friendship between the real and the imaginary. A must-read that will give you warm fuzzies and remind you of the beauty and innocence of childhood friendships.

The Opening:

Here is what I know:
My name is Budo.
I have been alive for five years. 
Five years is a very long time for someone like me to be alive. 
Max gave me my name. 
Max is the only human person who can see me.
Max's parents call me an imaginary friend.
I love Max's teacher, Mrs. Gosk.
I do not like Max's other teacher, Mrs. Patterson.
I am not imaginary.

Memoirs of an Imaginary Friend by Matthew Dicks


  1. I want to read nearly everything you review!

    1. well, you definitely should read this one, deondra! :)

  2. I just had to jump in and tell you how much I loved your review. Thanks so much for starting my day off with a huge smile. You really know the way to an author's heart.

    1. thanks so much for visiting matt! it is always a pleasure to share books that i've enjoyed, and this is one of them! :) good luck with your future novels -- i look forward to more!


© guiltless readingMaira Gall