Freak the Mighty

Kevin and Max are unlikely friends, but the two of them together make the perfect pair – Freak the Mighty. Plagued with a rare disease that has kept him “small” but he is exceedingly smart, Kevin is the opposite of Max, who is big for his age and labeled as learning disabled from his teachers. Kevin proves the labelers are mistaken when he teaches Max to read. The pair share a wonderful friendship, enjoying adventures and make believe quests, even a middle of the night exploration where they get to paint their faces black and blend in with the dark. Unfortunately, Max has a past that creeps up with him. His father “Killer Kane” is paroled from jail and pays Max an unwanted visit. Kevin plays a pivotal role in rescuing Max from his dad’s dastardly plans.

The two boys have both endured taunts and jeers, but at one point in the book they seem to earn the respect of their classmates.

But Freak (Kevin) is riding me like he’s the jockey and I’m the horse, he’s steering me around the classroom, showing off. He’s raising his fist and punching it in the air and going, “Freak the Mighty! Freak the Mighty!” and pretty soon he’s got all the other kids chanting, “Freak the Mighty! Freak the Mighty! Freak the Mighty! Even though they don’t know what he’s talking about, or what it means. I’m standing up straight, as tall as I can and I’m marching exactly like he want me to, right and left, backwards and forwards, and it’s like music or something, like I don’t even have to think about it, I just do it, and all those kids chanting our name, and Mrs. Donelli has no idea what’s going on, she’s definitely flipped out and more or less hiding behind her desk.

The friendship between the boys is magical; one should be so lucky to find such a friends as these guys find in each other. Two misfits prove you can’t judge a book by its cover. This poignant, unusual story might require a box of Kleenex at the end. Note: there is some low-lifes in the book who drink and give Freak and Kevin a good scare, and Freak’s dad is a piece of work as well (he was in jail for murdering Max’s mom). I would recommend the book only for young adult level and up. Freak the Mighty was made into a film entitled The Mighty.

For extended study:

Teacher guide from author’s website


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