Book Review: Memoirs Of An Imaginary Friend

I finished reading "Memoirs Of An Imaginary Friend." I was sad to get to the end. It was a truly remarkable book in many ways.

The story is narrated by Budo, Max's imaginary friend. Max is in elementary school. He is autistic and "lives in his head." Other children don't attempt to play with him. Max is oblivious anyway. Budo says he just doesn't like people. 

Max is said by some to have "Aspergers" and by others to be "on the spectrum." None of this matters to Budo. It is his job to be next to Max and protect him. 

Of course Max is often taunted by bullies. Aren't all children who are "different" in some way?

Max lives in a world where repetition is his friend. He cannot tolerate change of any kind. He will only wear seven items of clothing, so his mother sews a lining in his coat, because by the time it gets to mittens, they have reached seven items of clothing and she doesn't want him to be cold. 

His mother frets over him. His father says he's normal, but deep down, he knows his son is not at all "normal." His father goes out to play catch with Max. But Max lets the ball roll to his feet, then picks it up. No matter how many times his father tells him how to play, Max does the same thing every time. 

Sometimes, horror of horrors, Max gets stuck. These are the worst times. He gets so agitated that he doesn't scream or cry out, but gets stuck in his head and can't get out. Budo is always there to comfort him until he gets unstuck. 

A troubled teacher gets so caught up in her own fantasy that she does the unthinkable.

It is up to Budo to rescue Max, but Budo is limited as an imaginary friend, and he doesn't know how he's going to accomplish such a feat. 

Max, despite all the things he cannot do, manages, finally, to do the unimaginable. 

But the sad thing is, once children don't need their imaginary friends anymore, these friends fade away until it is almost as if they were never there. They have short-lived lives.

If you read this book, you will laugh. You will cry. You will come to understand what it's like to live in a little boy's head who sometimes "gets stuck." 

This is a beautiful story, underscored by the author's lack of embellishment. He successfully manages to tell this story much like a child would tell it. 

And therein lies the magic that makes this book a five star winner.

About this author
Matthew Dicks is the author of the novels Memoirs of an Imaginary Friend, Something Missing and Unexpectedly, Milo and the rock opera The Clowns. His novels have been translated into more than 25 languages worldwide, and his most recent is an international bestseller. He is also a columnist for Seasons magazine and has published work in The Hartford Courant, The Huffington Post and The Christian Science Monitor. When not hunched over a computer screen, he fills his days as an elementary school teacher, a public speaker, a blogger, a wedding DJ, a minister, a life coach and a Lord of Sealand. He is a former West Hartford Teacher of the Year and a finalist for Connecticut Teacher of the Year.


  1. I will be picking this one up today... and another you may want to read is "The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time". I've recommended this one to many friends who have an interest in Asperger's. My 24 yr old son is "on the spectrum"... Asperger's... and the book helped other to understand a bit more. Hugs!

  2. I've put this book on hold at my library. I can't wait to read it. thanks for the review.

  3. I'm so glad you liked this book and recommended it. How encouraging to find good fiction for so many whose world now includes loved ones living with Autism and Aspergers.


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