I want to CRY.
Memoirs of An Imaginary Friend needs a huge yellow warning sign: “DANGER, HIGH VOLTAGE OF TEARS” While reading the blurb, I knew something was wrong here. I remember TRYING to AVOID reading The Fault in Our Stars. That book was always flirting with me every time I visited Goodreads. It always popped out on the right corner of my laptop screen, goading me! Add that up with my oh-so-convincing classmate and like Eve, I walked ( I mean, read!) on the trap towards my everlasting despair!! And here I am once again, deliberately stepping on the same trap, reading Memoirs of An Imaginary Friend. Oh how I miss being a kid. How did we grow up so fast? When did it happen. Time is a fleeting commodity. Time can kill innocence and children, and eventually adults. I cry for the lost of my child-self. I cry for the 9-yr-old me, for the 12-yr-old me! I cry for the imaginary friend I never thought to create. I never had a Budo. Now my 20-ish brain is filled with surviving and living this sticky reality. I don’t have the exhaustive time required to conjure an imaginary friend like Budo. What I can do is read. And share. This. Book.
Before proceeding, you should probably be warned first: my review is littered with spoilers. You have to understand that in order for me to vomit out my unwanted feelings, I need to divulge a few (if not a lot!) tidbits inside the book.
I LOVE BUDO. This is who I imagined him to be:
I can keep you. Or you can keep me. Aaah, Casper!
I want to shout at Max, tell him how selfish and cruel he is! But he’s just a character in a book and he can’t hear me, see me or feel me. I am just a spectator, outside looking in. Right now I want to be inside this book. I want to be inside their story, inside their world! It is so frustrating! No wonder I can relate to Budo. The inability to communicate is so terrible, even screaming out the anger can’t alleviate a little of the emotional pain!
Okay, let’s go back to the story. Max. Max is a difficult child. Never talks. Gets confused a lot. Cannot understand subtleties. Hard to reach. Silent. Introvert. Loves seclusion. He is cut from a different cloth. No wonder his parents have a hard time. Maybe we all have this concept of a kid: demanding, noisy, messy and dirty. But not Max. He’s happy as he is – alone. Even if he had an imaginary friend (Budo is not imaginary!), he wants to be alone. See how impervious he is? But Budo is there to help Max. Help in a way that is beneficial to Budo (at the beginning). He has to help him continue to believe.
The question is, why all the effort? Max believes in Budo. Why does Budo need reassurance? Halfway of the book I had a tiny development of fear, like Budo. Fear of being forgotten, fear of not existing. Fear of being a dust in this world. So I concluded that the act of remembering is extremely difficult but the process of forgetting is very simple. We forget people, our assignments, our imaginary friends (Again, Budo is not imaginary!), our meetings and etc. Budo, while being old enough, is just like us: we are afraid to die, though inevitable it may be. Budo can die. Hence, Budo is not imaginary!
But this lovely book is not all about the existential meaning of life. It also reminds us to touch our inner child! We just need to open each of our matryoshka doll and find the itty-bitty tiniest kid inside ourselves.
Sometimes we have to do the child-like things and not get caught up with the fast track. The kind of friendship, bravery and wit of a kid is what it takes to balance out our oh-so-adult lives.
Additionally, the book also tackles sadness and acceptance. It’s more than a children’s book, or a young adult genre. Budo shows us a mature perspective too. He’s giving us a peak of what adults do when no one sees them. What do parents do when they’ve reached the limit? What do adults do when hopelessness sets it? How do adults cope the dreaded future? The possible outcome? The danger?
Lastly, this poignant tale of selflessness is absolutely strong. I can’t imagine sacrificing myself for the greater good. I’ve never done such a thing. Budo had to let Max grow up. A grown up means no more talking to someone imaginary, no more relying on imagined friends. I sometimes wish for Budo to remember his needs in the end. But like I said, remembering is difficult. T_T We need a lot of people to remind us to remember. Graham was just a tiny memory in the last few pages. Max is forgetting Budo! And what about Dee? Who else will remember her?
So dear readers, get yourselves involved. Read the pages, fill your hearts and minds with a different kind of maturity. Keep your inner child glowing. And never forget. Remember as long and as far back as you can. You don’t need to focus in the past, just reminisce once in a while.