Saturday, September 22, 2012

Memoirs of an Imaginary Friend by Matthew Dicks


I had an imaginary friend as a child - I am an only child, so I needed a friend. Matthew Dicks novel about a fragile young boy named Max is narrated by his imaginary friend, Budo, whose engaging and naive voice reminds me of Emma Donoghue's narrator in Room. In fact, this novel bears comparison to both Room and The Lovely Bones. Budo knows when Max is in trouble, but as a imaginary friend he has limited powers in the real world. Much of the novel concerns how Max is treated by students and teachers when he is in school, and Dicks has created teacher heroes and teacher devils to drive this story. I loved that he had the good teacher reading The Tale of Despereaux in the last chapter. This book will definitely appeal to high school students and ring true with anyone who has ever imagined a friend.

P.S. My imaginary friend died with my tonsillectomy when I was five. Dicks and Budo agree many imaginary friends are present in hospitals and many don't make it past kindergarten.


Thursday, September 06, 2012

Where'd You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple

I am always excited about finding an honest-to-goodness, laugh-out-loud funny book now and then. Maria Semple has written for television – arrested development, Mad About You, and Ellen. She lives in Seattle where fictional Bernadette stages her “disappearance from the stresses of her life”. Bernadette is mother to precocious Bee, wife of Elgie the Microsoft guru of robotics and a MacArthur grant recipient in her own right for her architectural masterpiece – The Twenty Mile House – a pioneer in green building. But everything she would seek to build crumbles and when frustrations mount – she stages a vanishing act so funny it had me reading pages out loud. Don’t miss the transcript of Elgie’s fictional TED talk! I had seen this book advertised in several women’s magazines and couldn’t wait to get it from the library. I won’t say where I read it – but a picture is worth 1,000 words.