Watching children play and invent whimsical games of fantasy is one of life's great joys. But what if you could actually see your child's imagination as it unfolded? And what would you do if your child's imagination suddenly became dark and threatening?
Burned-out and broke, twenty-two-year-old single mother Anna Jennings moves to her grandparents' rural home for the summer with her four-year-old son, David. The sudden appearance of shadowy dinosaurs forces Anna to admit that either she's lost her mind or she can actually see her son's active imagination. Frightened for David's safety, Anna struggles to learn the rules of this bizarre phenomenon and how best to protect him. But what she uncovers along the way is completely unexpected: revelations about what her son's imaginary friends truly represent and dark secrets about her own childhood imaginary friend.
Living next door is Jamie Presswood, Anna's childhood friend who's grown much more handsome and hardened than the boy she once knew. But past regrets and their messy lives are making the rekindling of their complex friendship prove easier said than done. Between imaginary creatures stalking her son and a tumultuous relationship with David's biological father, Anna may find it impossible to have room in her life or her heart for another man. But as David's visions become more threatening, Anna must learn to differentiate between which dangers are real and which are imagined, and whom she can truly trust.
As you know I always put either the Goodreads or Amazon description at the beginning of my reviews. This is partly because I don't want my reviews to spend too much time recounting the story, but sometimes, as is the case here, I find myself at a loss as to what to write because the description has given so much away, too much in my opinion.
As you can tell from the description this is an example of psychological magic realism, by which I mean a story in which magic realism is used to make manifest the psychology of key characters. The best example of this that I have reviewed was The Tooth Fairy by Graham Joyce, in which an adolescent boy's burgeoning feelings are expressed via the tooth fairy. Here we have young David's need for prtotection expressed in two imaginary dinosaur friends. The magic realism comes because his mother, Anna, can also see them and the large black cat that symbolizes what David fears.
For me the book works best on this psychological level. Indeed the book is a psychological mystery: what is it that David fears and what is it that Anna is hiding from herself - she too had an important imaginary friend in her childhood whom she has chosen to forget about. I like psychological mysteries like this and as a mother I absolutely understood Anna's fears about how to respond to what was happening to her son literally before her eyes. In fact, although the book may seem to be about David's fears, it is equally if not more so about Anna's psychological journey.
Personally I could have done with less of the will-they, won't-they love story. But romance helps sell books. I also was able to foresee what danger the black cat symbolized, but that didn't diminish my enjoyment.
All in all this is an enjoyable book with an interesting central concept. I hope many women will read it for the romance and come away with more.
I received this book free from the publisher in return for a fair review