Wednesday, September 5, 2012

MEMOIRS OF AN IMAGINARY FRIEND - Matthew Dicks

My review of the unabridged audio of MEMOIRS OF AN IMAGINARY FRIEND appeared last week (as a starred review) in Shelf Awareness for Readers. I am reprinting it with their permission. While this is not a traditional crime novel, I'm sure you'd find it in the general fiction section of most book stores, I thoroughly enjoyed this audiobook and wanted to share it with you all here. I hope you enjoy this review.

In place of my usual first sentence, I'm sharing with you the first chapter:

"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."

Kids say the darnedest things, and so do their imaginary friends. Matthew Brown is tasked with voicing those darnedest things in the audio version of Matthew Dicks’ new novel Memoirs of an Imaginary Friend.

Budo, the novel’s narrator, declares that imaginary friends are real; they’re just a different kind of real. Budo is imagined by Max, an autistic child who, Budo explains, “lives mostly on the inside.” Budo understands Max’s special needs and he doesn’t try to change Max; Budo helps his human friend cope with the challenges of his life, including his greatest challenge, being kidnapped by a trusted adult.

Budo points out that each imaginary friend is different. They appear as their human friends imagine them. Matthew Brown brings those differences to life through each distinct persona he creates for these friends: a flat outline drawing, a puppy, a fairy, even a giant. Brown doesn’t merely give them voices; he gives them whole personalities, making the listening experience expand beyond audio and into the other senses.

Dicks creates a whole different dimension co-existing with the human world; Brown steps into that dimension and melds the two worlds seamlessly together. While the rules of Dicks’ imaginary microcosm aren’t always consistent—after all it is imaginary—Brown treats the imaginary sphere as though it is as normal as…well, reality.

Readers may find themselves on an emotional roller coaster as Brown puts not only sound but also soul into the humor, the frustrations, the fears and the realizations of these unique characters. Dicks has written a heart-warming tale and Brown ratchets up the warmth with his endearing narration.

MEMOIRS OF AN IMAGINARY FRIEND is available from Macmillan Audio (ISBN:978-1427225887). It is also available in hardcover from St. Martin's Press (ISBN: 978-1250006219)

2 comments:

Beth F September 6, 2012 at 11:45 AM  

I just skimmed this because I haven't read or listened yet. This is near the top of my list ... hope I can get to it soon.

Sara J. Henry September 8, 2012 at 1:15 PM  

It is a phenomenal book - I'll admit to buying it only because I was at an event with Matthew (his UK publisher made him change his last name for publication there, so my edition is by "Matthew Green")and started reading it ... and could not stop. Probably my favorite book of the year so far.

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