"Memoirs of an Imaginary Friend" by Matthew Dicks is a different kind of book - one that really requires you to wrap your head around it. When I first saw the book, I was intrigued by the cover. Then, when I found out that it was an autism-themed book, I knew I wanted to read it. I don't know why I have the sudden fascination with fiction books about autism - possibly because it's a very talked about topic or maybe because it's seen very frequently in schools. Regardless, it's a very interesting topic and I love how these fiction books help to raise awareness, inform their readers, and put you in the minds of the individuals.
This book is different from the other fiction books with an autism theme. Whereas books like Mockingbird or The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime are told from the perspective of someone with autism, this book is told from the perspective of the imaginary friend of a child with autism. Strange, right?
Budo is Max's imaginary friend. Max is different from his classmates. He needs his routines, he doesn't enjoy the company of others, and the whole school situation makes him uncomfortable. Budo makes it very clear in his memoir that he likes Max's regular classroom teacher, Mrs. Gosk, but doesn't like Mrs. Patterson, one of the support teachers who helps Max throughout the week. Budo discusses what goes on in Max's day-to-day life, and then they go on a bit of an adventure together.
I liked the book because it gave a new perspective to a child with autism. Telling the story from the child's perspective, it's hard to see 'everything' - because that's not how they see things. A child would miss the obvious social cues or wouldn't understand why certain things are happening. With this book, Budo is able to give honest opinions - you know, being the loving and loyal imaginary friend that he is.
It took a bit of getting used to in the first few chapters, but it was a very neat concept (regardless of whether or not I was completely 'into' the plot in the second half of the book). Budo, who is so real to his friend Max, is able to share his story while also sharing Max's story. It's the story of a child and his imaginary friend as they are both growing up. (Imaginary friends can also be very smart creatures, if you imagine them to be this way... Budo happens to be very smart and he is very well aware that as soon as his friend Max stops believing in him, he will no longer be alive as an imaginary friend.)
I recommend it. It was interesting. It was different. It kept me entertained. It was a very neat concept.
And it continues to spread autism awareness.