Review | Imaginary Friend by Stephen Chbosky

“We can swallow our fear or let our fear swallow us.” 4/5 stars!

Attention! This book contains: woods, lottery tickets, white plastic bags, voices, sleeping bags, weird looking clouds, oreos, dead bodies, black line, sewed eyes, dyslexia, abandoned fridges, deers, treehouses, hospital beds and imaginary friends.

Christopher is seven years old.
Christopher is the new kid in town.
Christopher has an imaginary friend.

We can swallow our fear or let our fear swallow us.

Single mother Kate Reese is on the run. Determined to improve life for her and her son, Christopher, she flees an abusive relationship in the middle of the night with her child. Together, they find themselves drawn to the tight-knit community of Mill Grove, Pennsylvania. It’s as far off the beaten track as they can get. Just one highway in, one highway out.

At first, it seems like the perfect place to finally settle down. Then Christopher vanishes. For six long days, no one can find him. Until Christopher emerges from the woods at the edge of town, unharmed but not unchanged. He returns with a voice in his head only he can hear, with a mission only he can complete: Build a treehouse in the woods by Christmas, or his mother and everyone in the town will never be the same again.

I can’t believe I finally finished this book. I started reading it in August and here I am finishing it on Christmas Eve – which actually was a cool coincidence considering what happens in the book. I took a lot of time reading this book because I was constantly intimidated by it. It’s not a difficult book to go through, but every time I looked at this huge book with almost 900 pages (portuguese edition) I had no desire to pick it up. Which was unfair to the book, because I actually enjoyed it.

I would describe this book as horror, but not the aggressive kind. Don’t get me wrong, I got chills reading it and I felt uncomfortable most of the time, but it’s not an in-your-face kind of horror. It’s more of a disturbing kind, like Stephen King’s horror books.

The story was good. Like I said, I was creeped out most of the time because of the way the story kept building up. There is almost nothing comforting about this story other than the relationship between Christopher and his mother. You just feel uncomfortable most of the time – but in a good way! What makes this book so great to me is the combination of writing, characters and overall plot. Stephen Chbowsy is a natural when it comes to storytelling and it shows in this book. He writes in a very compelling way, making you want to know more and uncover the truth. And that plot twist? Oh lord, I did not see that coming.

The characters were amazing. I really liked how we have our main characters – Christopher and his mom – but also a huge set of secondary characters with their own personal stories. In the beginning I was a little lost because there are so many extra characters involved in the story, but after a while you get used to it. You get to know each character’s personal problems and how they fit into the story, so you go down an extra layer when it comes to depth. I don’t think I ever read something like this, but I liked it a lot.

The writing was one of my favorite things about this book. This is Stephen Chbosky’s second book after The Perks of Being a Wallflower, published with a 20 year old gap between books and I was curious to see how he would write horror. I could see some similarities in writing between books, but of course, the stories are very different. This story is very well developed and the pacing was really good until it slowed down a bit towards the end. If you feel intimidated by gigant books, don’t worry about this one because it has small chapters. This helped me a lot!

And can I say this book reminded me a lot of Stranger Things? A mom concerned about her kid, a xerif doing his best to uncover what’s going on, a group of nerdy friends hanging out together, a creepy setting in a small town… there were so many elements that reminded me of the tv show!

What a ride! It was an interesting book to say the least.


One thought on “Review | Imaginary Friend by Stephen Chbosky

  1. Pingback: The Best Books I Read in 2020 – Sprayed Edges

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