Today I want to recommend a book. I don’t know how I learned about his book. I must have seen it on some reading list. It caught my attention because as a child I had two imaginary friends. I quickly became engulfed in this book. When I found it, I didn’t realize the story included a child who was labeled as “different.” Yes, there are parents, many teachers and other adults. There is also an unexpected but needed emphasis on a paraprofessional. I had only a few chapters left so I took it to school pick up. I didn’t expect to sob at the end but I did just that. In the van waiting for Rachel and company, I sobbed.
The book is told from the viewpoint of the imaginary friend. In one spot he is telling why he believes Max his human is brave and this is what he says: “What I like best about Max is that he is brave. It’s not one thing. It’s everything. Max is not like any other person in the whole world. Kids make fun of him because he is different. His mom tries to change him into a different boy and his dad tries to treat him like he is someone else. Even his teachers treat him differently, and not always nicely. Even Mrs. Gosk*. She is perfect but she still treats Max differently. No one treats him like a regular boy, but everyone wants him to be regular instead of himself. With all that, Max still gets out of bed every morning and goes to school and the park and the bus stop and even the kitchen table.”
That’s enough to pull you in to “Memoirs of an Imaginary Friend” by Matthew Dicks. If you are looking for an easy but thought-provoking read that may or may not cause you to reach for the Kleenex, this is a good read. This book will allow you to see the world through some new lenses and through a variety of lenses, too. If you are an educator or a related services professional, you may see yourself or some of your colleagues. If you don’t have a child with a disability in your life, you will get a realistic understanding of what parents of children with disabilities face – daily. I believe parents of persons with disabilities will be impressed with how the writer Matthew Dicks nails some feelings and emotions and brings to life some very real fears. Parents, no doubt you will relate to some of the emotions. Mostly, I think he captures the essence of a child who the world has labeled as different from the very uncomplicated perspective of an imaginary friend.
I think we could all learn a lot from imaginary friends.
*Mrs. Gosk is the grade level teacher in the book.