Memoirs of an Imaginary Friend is a 2012 novel by Matthew Dicks. It is told from the perspective of Budo, the imaginary friend of Max, a boy with Asperger syndrome. Budo helps Max interpret social situations and deal with his troubles at school as best he can— and from there it becomes a thriller. In spite of the young age of the protagonists, the book is aimed primarily at an adult audience. It is notable for its vivid description of the creative and bizarre imaginary friends that children make up.
Memoirs of an Imaginary Friend provides examples of:
- Adult Fear: A teacher taking a child into her car and telling him not to say anything to his parents about their secret meetings.
- Ambiguous Innocence: Max. He doesn't understand the danger that he's in or the concept of losing someone forever.
- Cassandra Truth: Budo warns Max about Mrs. Patterson trying to kidnap him, but Max, being eight years old, doesn't believe him.
- Fate Worse than Death: Not existing, to Budo. Of course, to an imaginary friend, not existing is death.
- Freudian Excuse: Mrs. Patterson lost her own son, and kidnaps Max to replace him.
- Gainax Ending: The final chapter. Is Budo dead? Is he Dee's imaginary friend now? The author purposefully left it open to interpretation.
- Hesitant Sacrifice: Budo knows that if he helps Max to grow, Max won't need him anymore, and he will die. His conflicted feelings drive much of his characterization.
- Ill Girl: Budo meets the imaginary friend of a dying girl at the children's hospital.
- Vile Villain, Saccharine Show: A deranged kidnapping teacher really puts a damper on the whimsy of the first half of the book.