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Book Review: Imaginary Friend by Stephen Chbosky

Imaginary Friend

Stephen Chbosky

Hachette

RRP: $37.99

This book kept me on the knife edge for sooooooo long and I’m not sure if that’s good or bad. Honestly, about halfway through it started ‘wrapping up’ and I was left holding the book (which is HUGE) and wondering ‘How is this possible? There’s still so many more pages to read!’…and the answer really is that half of this book is all the ending! And it’s torturous, but almost pleasantly so – it’s the absolute opposite of those novels that finish so abruptly you feel like you’ve been cheated a satisfactory ending. At the end of this novel you’re completely and utterly ready for it to be OVER!

There’s absolutely no denying this book falls firmly in the horror genre so is definitely not for everyone. There are some parts I would have sworn were written by Stephen King, but thankfully this tome does not get as graphically violent as some of King’s works. I’m still undecided as to whether I liked this book or not…but it was definitely compelling and at times un-put-down-able.

The beginning was genius and introduced us to the main character Christopher. He’s the kind of kid you instinctively like – a good heart and a bit down on his luck.  We follow him and his mother as they leave a bad situation, find a new home, start a new school, make new friends – and then, well, things start to go badly wrong. And get realllly spooky. As with the best of horror novels it’s the everyday, mundane experiences that are flipped on the heads and made scary – watching TV, going to sleep, dreams, classroom tests, the woods out the back of the house…

When I consider who this book might be good for I think that it will definitely resonate with fans of horror novels. But I think that it would also appeal to those who like a good long read with a satisfactory ending where all loose ends are tied off and then clipped. If you’re a slower reader I think the beginning of the book would grab you but you’ll likely become frustrated with the lengthy ending.

I feel, in reflection, that I did like and enjoy this novel – the writing was such that I couldn’t skim it quickly to race to the end, and I like that – I like that I had to work for it, had to pay attention to the hints of foreshadowing throughout the novel; and I liked being a little freaked out. But I sure as heck would not read this when I was camping in the woods….no siree! My advice – just be careful where you read it!

About the Author

Stephen Chbosky’s first novel, THE PERKS OF BEING A WALLFLOWER has sold over 3.6 million copies in the English language. In the twenty years since, Stephen has become a prominent screenwriter and director. In 2012 he wrote and directed the film adaptation of PERKS. In 2017 penned the live action adaptation of BEAUTY AND THE BEAST, and co-wrote and directed the screenplay of the mega-bestselling novel WONDER starring Julia Roberts.

About Esther Perriam

Esther Perriam
Esther Perriam is a Director of Eldernet. She’s worked in the business for over 15 years and has been lucky to visit many of the older person’s services around the country. She’s never short of an opinion on…pretty much anything. Esther really loves reading and you’ll see plenty of book reviews authored by her. As a mother of two children there’s not much free time but if there is she also enjoys cooking (for grown-ups, not the kids!) and anything beach related in her spare time. Esther has presented at conferences around New Zealand and is happy to be contacted in regards to speaking or presenting at your event.