Monday, June 10, 2013

Memoirs of an Imaginary Friend-Week Two-Chapters 22-42

Memoirs of an Imaginary Friend
Week Two
Chapters 22-42

Wow what a terrifying turn of events for Max and what a cliff-hanger from week one we had.
Budo’s role is taking major steps in this part.
First did you know that 65% of children between the ages of 3-5 have imaginary friends?
Click the link for an article

So let’s talk about it all

Have opinions changed for you from week one?

Did you see the writing on the wall about Mrs. Patterson?

Your feelings about Budo’s visit to the Children’s Hospital.

Budo’s moral dilemma- and his ultimate decision.

Your biggest surprise so far (this could be about the writing, the novel, the characters-
a knee jerk reaction)

Be sure and check back later today for my July line-up post plus a fantastic GIVEAWAY  for my July feature The Last Policeman participants.

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  1. I think the thing that surprises me the most about the whole story is how much Budo contemplates his own future. This really gives him an existence of his own, outside of Max's imagining of him. Yes, he's been going out and visiting other places, but it wasn't until he started contemplating what would happen to himself that it really struck me.

    Mrs. Patterson's plans, once we saw that she was the abductor, were pretty obvious. How could she not make plans to move, once she had Max trapped? I think you can only keep up that mask of deception for so long in your own home town.

    1. I agree with you, Elaine, about Budo's contemplation of HIS future being a surprise. There are moments when I don't like Budo's selfishness.

  2. Because Budo is suspicious of Mrs. Patterson from the beginning, I was, too. I guessed a couple of bizarre things--1)she was a part-time therapist hired by Max's mom without his father's knowledge 2) she was looking for evidence of child abuse/neglect--before the abduction!

    I have found many interesting ideas (surprises) to contemplate during the reading. Since I love philosophy, I am immediately reminded of the metaphysics of Plato's Allegory of the Cave when Budo bumps into the "ideas of things." Somewhat along those metaphysical lines, I played with the concept of imaginary friends who can't walk through walls and doors being locked into rooms. If the imaginary friend is locked in a car, for instance, and the child suddenly needs the friend for comfort, can the child imagine the friend and the friend suddenly is transported to the child's side?.(I didn't waste too much time on that, but it seemed an interesting idea.) Max seems unable to make Budo appear through Max's imagination alone. Of course, Budo says from the beginning that he is more well-thought-out, more experienced (older) and more real than most imaginary friends. He really does have a life of his own, outside of Max.

    Budo's relationship with Max also surprised me. I think I expected Max and Budo to communicate freely, with much more ease than Max and other real people communicate. But even Budo is careful in how he communicates with Max.

    I also loved Budo's almost sympathetic understanding of Mrs. Patterson when she wants to say "I love you" to Max. Budo realizes that she wants to love and be loved in return, but he realizes, too, that neither she with her psychological problems nor Max with his autistic/socialization disorder is capable of loving like that.

    1. I like that idea you mentioned, Edie, that Budo is more careful in his communication with Max than you'd think. It didn't really occur to me until you mentioned it, but it's almost like Budo is the adult, trying to find a way to talk to Max. I think our subconscious is also a little careful around us - the messages we get can be so coded, it might take a while to figure out what we're trying to say to ourselves. I think Budo is a really fascinating representation of our inner selves.

  3. Thanks Elaine and Edie for your comments.
    Wow I'm glad that Monday is over I could have used an extra 8 hours though :)

    Budo to me was an enigma at first so when he first mentioned not liking Mrs. Patterson it didn't effect me one way or another so when her illicit behavior started I wished I had paid closer attention.

    I was impressed by Budo from the start but oh boy when Max was kidnapped and he just took control and decides to save him I was blown away by his love for Max

    The other thing that really impresses me about this novel is Matthew's ability to give Budo such a strong voice, he knows just how to put into words what will bring just the right response while at the same time extracting every emotion from me as sit biting my nails.

  4. Ah, but this is Budo's story, not Max's. We tend to forget that. With that in mind, we get focued on the thought that the story is about Budo telling the story about Max and his kidnapping and about autism. Right again. But then, Edie, I do think you are right. There is a second sub-story that is about mortality. Something to keep in mind with the reading os the book


    1. Hi Karen, thanks for the comment.
      Yes I do tend to forget who's POV we're seeing because it's such a poignant POV :)
      Morality tale definitely!

      So let me ask you at what age would you recommend this being read?

  5. This is NOT a children's book. But definitely 16 and older. I say 16 because I would challenge them to find ALL the stories in the book. It would definitely be great AP english material.
    Not necessarily good reading for a pergnant mom...could be too reflective on several levels.
    College level would enjoy it for face value..not sure they would delve deeper without guidance. Okay. Okay. Us who are raising a second generation definitely see the mortality. But I truly feel Matthew has written a work that is capable of appealing to all ages. It is brilliant in captivating our hidden child and whisking us back to a time many of us have long tucked away and forgotten. He brings out our most righteous indignation at our worst fears -- bullies, kidnappers, death, listening to parents argue... And gives us a best friend and hero to walk with us and help us through the darkest and hardest of times. We aren't readers of a story we are Budo or Max. We feel each moment as if it is our own.
    Who are you most identofying with in the story? Max. Budo. Or another character? Why?

    1. I'm not the type of reader who necessarily identifies with the characters in a novel I think that's why I love getting lost in a book because I really do get lost. Do I empathize definitely, but I rarely walk in their shoes I'm mostly a fly on their walls. Now if we were reading say a racy romance I would most definitely be the heroine :) hubba hubba

      Now saying that I can feel Max's pain as I was bullied in school not for the same reason but when you're a kid it doesn't really matter. I love Max's mom and can feel her pain too, it would kill me not to be able to touch or hug my kid. I love Max's dad too even though he's dealing with Max's problem with a bag over his head.
      Budo is in a class by himself, he just keeps reinventing himself to match the needs of his environment.

      Now I think that 16 is a good age because of the violence if not for what happened to Dee I think 12, because like you said it's a novel for all ages and Matthew is brilliant.

      I love these conversations

    2. Ah but to become the character you think ahead you visualize. It is almost like a game with the author. Did he do such a wonderful job of devoping the character that you are onecwith him (the author) and can think ahead on where. You will go next and how you will deal with life....does it ppan out like the author writes it? An interesting excercise, but only works in really well written books with very well developed characters,
      BTW. I love Budo. He is wonderful. He is everything that Max can't be and does everything that Max can't, UNLESS Max forbids him......then sometimes I wonder what about when Max isn't around......much like all the toys coming to life as soon as the people leave the room in Toy Story. Hold that thought......

    3. all true Karen, but even when forbidden Budo does what he thinks is right. Remember when Max forbid him to follow when he went to Mrs. Patterson's car.
      You know it's almost like Budo's coming of age along with Max and I guess that's really unusual in imaginary friends because by this time in a child's life his imaginary friend is already gone.

  6. True. But. Budo is special and Max is special and the minds of an auti stic child are not bo und by the same conventions as the rest of us. There is a little extra gen ius in there. And I thinl Budo got a big j eap o f that genius. Maybe that is why B udo could do so much more and was able to develope o ndeprndently...the genius factor.

  7. Sorry for the tiny keyboard typos

  8. Once Mrs. Patterson began taking Max outside of the school to her car, I became suspicious of her. Especially since Max was so insistent that Budo not come with him. Something just didn't feel right about that situation, even if she was a teacher. I knew then that she was going to try and kidnap Max and my heart raced at all the awful possibilities she could have in store for poor Max. In all the scenarios I had pictured though, her stealing Max as a way to replace her deceased son was not one of them.

    I think Budo's trip to the Children's Hospital really put his mission to find Max and not worry about what will happen to himself into perspective. He met the little girl the size of a soda bottle who was the imaginary friend to a little girl who was dying. She made sure Budo knew how important it was to find Max and save him. All the imaginary friends of children who were sick or dying in the hospital made it clear to Budo that he couldn't worry about himself and his possible nonexistence. The safety of their human friends was what really mattered.

    I found myself becoming frustrated with Budo when he considered letting himself and Max stay and live with Mrs. Patterson because it meant he would always be needed and would never have to disappear. Luckily Budo came to his senses quickly and saw how unhappy Max was at Mrs. Patterson's house and couldn't continue to let him be held hostage even if it meant that someday he might not exist.

    I think the biggest surprise for me in this section of reading was the way Budo felt sympathy for Mrs. Patterson when she would try to talk to Max and he wouldn't look at her or respond in a way that she hoped or expected. Mrs. Patterson was the person who stole Max and took him away from everything he knew and for Budo to think for even a moment that her feelings might be hurt really surprised me. I expected him to hate Mrs. Patterson for what she has done. I guess that's what makes Budo so special.