The story presented in “Memoirs of an Imaginary Friend” is good in theory but misses the mark in the execution.
The book is about Budo, an imaginary friend of an autistic boy named Max. Budo is 5 years old, which is older than most imaginary friends. Budo helps Max cope with the world around him and helps him in a time of need. I don’t want to give out any spoilers so, I will not really elaborate any further on the plot.
I started listening to this audiobook knowing nothing about it but for the title and the little blurb in the back. Imagine my surprise when I realized I recognized many of the landmarks that were described in the book. The Corner Pug? I used to live a couple of streets from it. the Berlin Turnpike? Near as well. I research the author, Matthew Dicks, and I learned that he lives in Newington, CT, where I lived for 4 years not too long ago. Thus, my enjoyment of the story may be a little more than most because it was nice to reminisce about certain landmarks. Before realizing this connections, I was somewhat bored by the book because it was moving nowhere at snail speed, it was repetitive and tedious. Near the end of the book there are some instances of urgency as a result of the events (the last 2-3 discs) but the rest were boring and repetitive. The story was very predictable as well.
The characterization of autism in the book is very simplistic. But, we have to take into account the narrator voice. The narrator is an imaginary friend that has been ‘alive’ for five years and may have a perceived age of about ten years old. We can’t really expect an in depth description of autism from a narrator such as this.
The book also struggles to find an audience. I feel that this book may appeal to a young audience because of the subject matter. But, many (all) parents may (will) object to the language (swearing) in the book. Adults will just be bored with the book.
The audiobook is about 11 hours long (9 discs) and narrated by Matthew Brown. The narration was pretty good and, perhaps, what kept me somewhat engaged with the book.
Overall, it’s not a bad audiobook and it is entertaining at the end. But, it received a lot of “when will it get better?” comments from me.