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Imaginary Friends

11 July 2014

Just finished reading the book club book for July, Memoirs of an Imaginary Friend by Matthew Dicks.  Khiyali and I have already had a couple of discussions about this book -she read parts of it and I told her the story as well.  It was definitely very intense for her and I am not sure she would have liked to read the entire book.  She would have gotten very emotionally involved with the characters.    Even with the bits she has read and hearing the rest of the story from me she found it intense.

Memoirs of an Imaginary Friend, by Matthew Dicks

Memoirs of an Imaginary Friend, by Matthew Dicks

So I had to go gently around the issue of imaginary friends dying, or fading away, when the imaginer friend stops imagining them.    I explained that what happens is that the imaginary friend merges into the larger reality.  Which I feel more truly reflects the role that imaginary friends play.   They provide companionship, emotional support, and a world that only the imaginer knows.  Eventually one learns to find these in the world around one.  Not because this world is “real” but because it is the world of our collective imagination.

Another analogy:  Take a bubble that you blow.  Because you blew air into the soapy film to form the bubble, the air retains a certain amount of momentum.  Some bubbles pop but others just grow until they are so thin that they just evaporate – allowing the air inside to merge with the air outside.

While the imaginary friend Budo explains that while he is imagined by another person and cannot exist without that person, he also does things on his own, without the involvement of his imaginer friend, Max.

As a reader, I wonder if this is a comment on our subconscious, or if we are just to accept for the purpose of the novel that the imaginary friend is not entirely the product of the imaginer, but a character in his own right.

If the former, then this raises interesting questions about Budo’s friends – are they also part of Max’s imagination?

It would be an interesting way to think about our subconscious mind, especially if we think about the possibility that all of us are imaginary.

Of course there is a small bit of magic in the story.  Other than that it could be read as a complex psychological allegory.

I had a prediction which turned out to be false – I thought that when Budo sought the help of Oswald he would ask Oswald to dial 911 or perhaps to bring the phone to Max so that he could dial 911.   But instead we were treated to a high speed chase.  Fine.

Looking forward to the book discussion next week!  Can’t wait in fact 🙂

Author:  Mathew Dicks

Discussion:  Bel Air Fiction Book Discussion Group  Thursday July 17 at 6:30

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