Imaginary Friend by Stephen Chbosky

Imaginary Friend - Stephen Chbosky

This is the long-awaited second novel from the author of 'Perks of Being a Wallflower'. This is a completely different beast, however, so enough about that.


Christopher is seven and this is not the first time that his mother Kate has made them pack up what they can of their lives and escape in the middle of the night from a dangerous boyfriend. They end up in a remote town in Pennsylvania and hope for the best. Christopher then goes missing and is not seen for six days. When he comes back, things are different: he suddenly overcomes his dyslexia, Kate wins the lottery and buys a dream house, and Christopher continues to talk to the "Nice Man" that helped him out of the woods. The Nice Man has a warning for him, however, bad things won't be staying in the woods anymore, for Christopher to stop bad things from happening he has to build a treehouse before Christmas....


I feel like this might be a case of an author working too long on a manuscript. There was some great initial character development and I love the plot, but at over 700 pages the book is overlong and poorly paced. The treehouse was finished within a few hundred pages. 400 pages of impending apocalypse wears down the suspense. Character development and, frankly, many of the character's actions become redundant as the book goes on. Later additions to the 'Hellraiser' films come to mind. A story can sustain mounting, disgusting horror only for so long before I begin to glaze over. Speaking of that, I hate to make the unfavorable Stephen King comparisons, buuuut…this book needed an aggressive editor.


I was very disappointed. Don't believe the hype. I don't like writing poor reviews, but Chbosky is a writer that can do better.