Dicks applied the Page 69 Test to Memoirs of an Imaginary Friend, his new novel, and reported the following:
Page 69 captures several pertinent elements of Memoirs of an Imaginary Friend quite well. Budo, the imaginary friend who narrates the story, has left the home of Max, his imaginer, and is visiting a gas station that he especially likes. Dee and Sally, two employees of the gas station, are present, and this page captures Dee and Sally’s relationship well.Visit Matthew Dicks' website and Facebook page.
Actually, Sally and Dee like each other a lot. But whenever a customer is inside the store, they pretend to fight. Nothing too bad. Max’s mom would call it bickering, which means fighting without the danger of hating each other at the end of the fight. That’s what Sally and Dee do. They bicker. But as soon as the customer leaves, the go back to being nice to each other. When someone is watching, I think they like to put on a show.Because Budo is invisible to everyone except Max and other imaginary friends, he is able to gain insight into relationships like these that others might not.
But Budo also confuses things rather easily, since he spends the majority of his time with an eight-year old boy who is probably autistic. When Dee tells Sally that her mother had her foot amputated as a result of diabetes, Budo is shocked to discover that a foot could die and is worried that Max might “catch” bad circulation.
Before I came into the store, I didn’t know that a foot could die and get chopped off. I thought that when one part of a human person dies, everything dies. I’ll have to ask Max what bad circulation means, and I have to make sure he doesn’t catch it.Budo also discusses some of Max’s struggles on this page as well. “Max has a hard time understanding that you have to act differently in different situations,” Budo explains. He goes on to describe one of Max’s play dates with a friend. Max was unable to understand why his mother would allow him to play videogames with his friend since they had not eaten dinner yet. When Max’s mom tries to explain that having a friend over changes the rules, Max is unable to adapt, forcing his friend to finally offer to play catch outside instead. “That was Max’s last play date,” Budo says.
Page 69 offers an unexpectedly comprehensive look at Budo, Max and some of the secondary characters who populate the novel.
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