Review – Imaginary Friend by Stephen Chbosky

Posted January 22, 2020 by Carole in 2020 Library Love Challenge, Audiobook, Book Reviews / 22 Comments

Imaginary Friend by Stephen Chbosky 
Narrated by Christine Lakin
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing / Hachette Audio
Publication Date: October 1, 2019
Date Read: January 19, 2020
Length: 720 pages / 24 hours and 32 minutes
Source: Publisher / NetGalley / Library

A young boy is haunted by a voice in his head in this acclaimed epic of literary horror from the author of The Perks of Being a Wallflower.

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.

Twenty years ago, Stephen Chbosky’s The Perks of Being a Wallflower made readers everywhere feel infinite. Now, Chbosky has returned with an epic work of literary horror, years in the making, whose grand scale and rich emotion redefine the genre. Read it with the lights on.

My Review

I really enjoyed this book!  This is a big book and somewhat intimidating due to its length.  It is a big story though and I felt like all of those pages really were necessary.  I have not read this author’s previous novel but as soon as I saw this book, I knew that I needed to get my hands on a copy.  My instincts were right and this book ended up being a wonderful experience.

Christopher and his mother, Kate, begin this journey in the middle of the night fleeing Kate’s abusive boyfriend.  They end up in a small town in Pennsylvania where Kate starts a job at the nursing home and Christopher starts making friends at school.  They live in a hotel room and Christopher appreciates all of the small things his mother does for him.  Then Christopher goes missing for an entire week and everything changes.

This is Christopher’s story but it is also the story of all of the town’s residents.  We get to learn the backgrounds, the secrets, and motivations for all of the key players in town.  Each piece of knowledge adds to the overall story and I loved it when a piece of the puzzle snapped into place.  I thought that the story was really imaginative and there were some pretty amazing twists that I never saw coming.  The cast of characters was quite large and very well done.

Christine Lakin did a fabulous job with the narration.  She handled a very large cast of characters incredibly well with each character sounding unique.  I thought that she added a lot of excitement into the story as well as the character’s emotions. She has a very pleasant voice that was easy to listen to for hours at a time.  This was my first experience in listening to her narration work and I was very impressed.

I would recommend this book to others.  I thought this was a very well done story that was entertaining from beginning to end.  I am thinking it might finally be time to give The Perks of Being a Wallflower at try.

I received a review copy of this book from Grand Central Publishing and I borrowed a copy of the audiobook from my local library.

About the Author

Stephen Chbosky is the author of the multi-million-copy bestselling debut novel The Perks of Being a Wallflower. In 2012, Chbosky wrote and directed an acclaimed film adaptation of his novel, starring Logan Lerman, Emma Watson and Ezra Miller. He also directed the acclaimed 2017 film Wonder starring Julia Roberts, Owen Wilson and Jacob Tremblay. Imaginary Friend is Chbosky’s long-awaited second novel.

Author Links: Twitter

22 responses to “Review – Imaginary Friend by Stephen Chbosky

  1. I like big books and I cannot lie 😛 It's true, though! And, yes, sometimes a few more pages are really necessary for the story and I'm always glad when the author adds them. This one sounds like an intriguing story and I'm glad it gave you such a wonderful experience! I noted it down so I'll check the paperback 🙂

  2. I've been wondering about this one. It sounds odd, so I'm glad to hear it was worth the read. I'll have to check it out.

  3. It’s amazing that there is such a gap between Perks and this book. I like that the story encompasses more than just Christopher. And I’m having a mind-blown moment that Christine Larkin is the narrator! I remember her from the early 90’s when she was A child actor on some sit-com.

  4. My first thought was creepy and I see that in some of the other comments too. I'm glad you enjoyed it. Wonderful review!

    Anne – Books of My Heart

  5. I just love seeing a narrator that can handle such a large cast of characters….its so great to see that talent in the books we listen to. Glad you enjoyed this one.

  6. I have this one and want to pick it up but I've seen a few views that mentioned it kind of heads off on a religious turn and I'm nervous. Now that you've read it, do you see it in that?

    • It does have some weird religious stuff. There are some religious characters but I would expect that with such a large cast of characters. I didn't feel that it was preachy but there was a focus on God and other religious figures. More and more as the book progressed. I probably should have touched on this in my review since it would probably turn away some readers.

  7. I haven't read The Perks of Being a Wallflower, but it seems to be one of those books that is always recommended. I haven't heard much about this one, but you make it sound so good! I will have to give it a try.

  8. I have the perks of being a wallflower but I have yet to read it. I think I do want to read that one first, but once I am done with that one, I know I will continue right on to this one as well. It sounds like it has an edge of creepiness and that it may be a bit book but all those parts work together to make a great puzzle!