Wednesday, October 02, 2019

Review: Imaginary Friend by Stephen Chbosky (print/aduio)

Title: Imaginary Friend
Author: Stephen Chbosky
Narrator: Christine Lakin
Published: October 2019, Hachette Audio / Grand Central Publishing
Length: 24 hours 32 minutes / 720 pages
Source: Audio via Hachette Audio via / Print via Grand Central Publishing

Christopher is seven years old. Christopher is the new kid in town. Christopher has an imaginary friend. The epic work of literary horror from the #1 bestselling author of THE PERKS OF BEING A WALLFLOWER.

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 Christopher at her side. 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 awful 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 tree house in the woods by Christmas, or his mother and everyone in the town will never be the same again.

Soon Kate and Christopher find themselves in the fight of their lives, caught in the middle of a war playing out between good and evil, with their small town as the battleground.

My thoughts: It's not too often that I seek out horror books, but I decided to give Stephen Chbosky's latest book a try. I admit that I have not read his other book, The Perks of Being a Wallflower, but from what I understand it doesn't even matter because this latest book is a beast of a completely different nature. I do plan at some point to pick up the earlier book just because I am enamored with this man's writing!

This book is's just over 700 pages and while it looks quite daunting, let me just say it moves fast and you quickly become consumed by all that is happening. Even the audio book is long - 24 and a half hours - but this is just one of those stories where you get so wrapped up in it, that whatever medium you choose to go with, you won't realize the length. I went back and forth between the print and audio and I quite honestly think it enhanced my reading even more.

This book is takes a very different look at the old good versus evil theme and throws it on it's head with a literary horror spin to it. There are religious undertones that play a major role in the story, but it also looks at other themes - the strong bond and love between a mother and son, as well as just how important those childhood friendships really are. But what's incredible is that it is never preachy. It is incredibly vivid and descriptive, and while the beginning takes a while to set everything up - introducing us to all the key players and setting the tone for the overall story - it is so worth it. Once we get into the main part of the story, it really takes off.

This is definitely a book that you just have to read with an open mind. Let your imagination go as you devour the pages and you will enjoy it for all it's worth. There are a few little instances that don't necessary work if you really think of it, but overall this is a fantastic book to curl up with during the spooky season. I'm glad I gave this one a chance - it ended up being a winner for me!

Audio Thoughts: As I already mentioned, I went back and forth between the print and audio format of this book, primarily listening to it. This audio book is really does enhance your reading experience. Christine Lakin does an amazing job with all the voices and sound effects to really make this book come to life, adding a new layer of creepiness to it.


1 comment

  1. This book sounds super spooky-good. Fantastic review, Kristin!


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