This book wasn't what I was expecting but it was quite good. I would recommend it to pretty much... everyone. The story is Budo's, Max's imaginary friend. Budo is six-years-old which is ancient for an imaginary friend. Budo helps Max, who seems to have autism though his parents are really sure what's going on with him. Budo spends a lot of time worrying about the day when Max will forget about him and he will not exist anymore. Max ends up in trouble and Budo needs to find a way to help him, but what if helping Max will mean the end to Budo? I enjoyed the idea of a story from the viewpoint of an imaginary friend. (Arna you will always be in my heart.) And I enjoyed the autism angle in the story as well. Even though the mystery may seems pulled from a TV crime show (perhaps on purpose) I cared enough about the characters and wondered how in the world things would work out that I was very anxious to keep reading the book and to finish it. I liked this book. I'm very glad the author wrote it.
One small qualm I have with the book happens when the story talks about teachers who really teach (the good ones) and teachers who just play school (the bad ones). The comment is made that teachers who use charts and sticker sheets just pretend to teach school. As many times as I've seen those types of things work for kids, most on the autism spectrum, I don't think that was an accurate statement to include in the book especially when one of the main characters has autism.
But I really loved that The Tale of Despereaux is mentioned. And I love on page 253, when Budo talks about how brave he thinks Max is because kids make fun of him, people try to change him, everyone tries to make him into a normal boy but no one treats him like a normal boy. It was really touching for me thinking about my own boy. Then he sums it up with this (I hope I don't get in trouble for quoting this), "But you have to be the bravest person in the world to go out every day, being yourself when no one likes who you are." I can relate to that. And I wish I was braver. And I very much admire my sons.