Monday, May 5, 2014

Reading Imaginary Friends

Imaginary Friends is THE book that initiated me into the e-book world. 

I'm the old-school type who'd rather flip pages than swipe screens. But because Melanie Lee first published this as an e-book, I decided to give the media a try and bought it at Kobo to support my writer-friend whose lively, witty style is always a joy to read.

Plus who can resist the curiosity of reading what our fruits, tea bags, and motorbikes might say and do if they were real?

Each of the 26 stories has a moral that is both funny yet oh so true. There is the yak who tried to stop her husband from yodeling until he survived a hunting attempt ("Don't try to change your spouse into someone he or she is not") and the atas European-made xerox machine who finally learned to work with "cheap" paper sheets when they choked him each time they were fed into the copier ("In today's globalised world, you'd better learn to appreciate diversity").

While I think my 10- and seven-year-old would not have appreciated details about tea bags being boiled alive or octopuses being served up as sashimi, I mostly had thought-provoking moments with the occasional chuckle at clever references to well-known childhood characters such as Jack in Jack and the Beanstalk and Ariel the mermaid weaved into the fables. I had imaginary friends in toys when I was a kid, but never would I have imagined them to be so sophisticatedly human.

So thanks to you, Imaginary Friends, I've re-discovered slices of my childhood and also the convenience of having several good reads all packed into one device without the bulk. Now stop kidding around and get along with your bohemian travel neighbours in the Kobo Library, please.

Imaginary Friends is now available in paperback at MPH, Books Kinokuniya and Books Actually. Its electronic version can be found on and Meet author Melanie Lee and the print edition's illustrator Arif Rafhan at the book launch on Wednesday, 7 May, 7.30pm at Books Actually, № 9 Yong Siak Street, Singapore 168645. 

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