MARY AND MAXMary is an eight-year-old girl growing up on the outskirts of Melbourne. She has a close friendship with her pen pal, Max Jerry Horovitz, a 44-year-old severely deranged New Yorker who suffers from a form of autism known as Asperger’s syndrome. Max has no friends other than Mary, who sends him letters from a world that is entirely unknown to him. And Mary has Max, to whom she can put all her burning questions:
Dear Mr Horovitz! My name is Mary Daisy Dinkle and I am eight years, three months and nine days old. My favourite colour is brown and my favourite food is condensed milk, closely followed by chocolate. Where do babies come from in America? Do they come out of Coca-Cola tins? In Australia, Dads find them at the bottom of their beer glasses – at least that’s what Grandpa tells me. It would be great if you could write back and be my friend.
Max Horovitz has eight identical track suits in his wardrobe. He is much too fat and finds people ‘confusing’. His psychologist advises him to go on a diet – because a healthy mind needs a healthy body. Max is not convinced by such advice. He is much more interested in the letters that Mary sends him from far away in Australia. In their letters, Mary and Max discuss such topics as their favourite cartoon, taxidermy, and their unease about the world at large. And so Mary begins to explain the world to Max – and vice versa.