Imaginary Friend

Douglas Whaley
Narrator: David Allen Vargo

SUSPENSE: Lawyer Franklin Whitestone is a hero after he helps rescue people following a bomb explosion in an Ohio stadium. When he is whisked away to New York to be interviewed on a talk show, the wine he had with dinner loosens his tongue somewhat. Consequently, Franklin pronounces that he is an atheist and that he didn’t have an ‘imaginary friend’ who stayed with him during the bombing aftermath. This news disappoints authentic Christians, but it really enrages the unbalanced ones, who offer death threats and potential harm to his family because of his statements. This audiobook exposes the fine line between authentic Christians (who are represented here in a couple of places) and the depths to which the unstable Christians-in-name-only will sink to make their point.

Whaley offers some valuable insights into the human condition, and he does so in creative and thought-provoking ways. Although Atheism is less common than Christianity, he makes the valid point that because Atheists don’t hold hope for an afterlife, they must make this life matter, by living it the best way they can. Throughout this audiobook, Franklin demonstrates this many times, and much more effectively than Jake, who personifies the mentally unhinged Christian in this story. This book is difficult to hear because of the story that unfolds, but it is a must-listen for anyone who actually cares about the dangerous side-effects of extremism.

David Allen Vargo has mastered the southern accent. Nearly everyone in central Ohio has a southern accent, according to this narrator. While the recording quality is excellent, the stereotype that every Christian speaks like a southern Baptist gets quite old. If readers can move past this egregious stereotyping error, the content and delivery of everything else is worth hearing. This is a thought-provoking story that is definitely worth considering.

Carey Sullivan