Have you ever felt like the underdog? Have you been treated like you were less than a person? Well take a lesson or two from Freak the Mighty. Our main characters, Max and Kevin, are a dynamic duo. We have Max, the Mighty, who is considered to be the stupid and strong youth that is going to turn out to be… eek, eek… his father, Killer Kenny Kane. We also have Kevin, Freak, the uber smart, crippled kids that moves in next door to Max at the beginning of their eighth grade year of school. Due to Max’s curiosity about the strange boy next door a friendship is forged.
Max is intrigued by the amount of knowledge Kevin possesses and Kevin loves the power he receives when he is atop Max’s shoulders. We also have Grim and Gram, Max’s grandparents, hope that some of Kevin’s smarts will rub off on Max through this friendship and the Fair Gwen, Kevin’s mom, is happy that her disabled child has a friend that accepts him for who he is… a genious! Together Max and Kevin become a power to be reckoned with in a regular community that magically transforms in their minds as they go on quests to rescue fair maidens and fight against the evils set before them.
The story of Freak the Mighty starts out with Max living with his grandparents. They seem to fear their grandson will turn out to be like their father, who we learn later murdered his wife while in front of Max. As Max is sitting outside he sees a new neighbor moving in next door. He is spying over the fence when he sees a small boy, Kevin whom he recognizes from day care, shouting out orders to the movers. His mother shoos him along and he goes out playing with his ornithopter. He gets the mechanical bird stuck in a tree, where Max rescues it and a friendship is made.
Max and Kevin go to the fireworks where Max sympathizes with Kevin not being able to see the fireworks and gets the idea to pick Kevin up and put him on his shoulders. Kevin LOVES the view from up there and he remains there for most of the story. They later run into Tony D and his gang. There Kevin uses his brains to get the boys into trouble. He is unaware that even though Max is big he is very timid. They end up getting chased into a pond where they have to be rescued from the gang by the police. When the boys return home, Grim and Gram start to treat Max more like a son.
At school w the boys transform into “Freak the Mighty,” because the class is teasing Max. Kevin climbs atop of Max’s shoulders and the class goes crazy and the teacher has to hide under her desk from the chaos in the classroom. The boys then go on quests to the hospital, where Kevin explains he will get a robotic body transplant. Max is confused and concerned about this information, but Kevin seems to be excited to be the first uman robot. They also go to a sewer at three o’clock in the morning, the moment of optimal darkness, dressed in black to rescue a purse.
Kevin has the great idea to return the purse to the damsel of distress. While there we are introduced to Iggy and Loretta Lee. They harass the boys until they realize that Max is Killer Kanes kid. They don’t want any trouble with Kenny, so they let the boys go. We also see how sick Kevin really is! On Friday the 13th, Kevin is eating food at the cafeteria at school and chokes, causing him to be hospitalized for a short period of time. On Christmas Eve, we see the two families celebrating together. They are having a great time eating, socializing, and opening presents.
Kevin gives Max the best gift… pyramid shaped gift box with a dictionary he made of all of his own words (real words and his made up words). That night, Killer Kenny Kane comes and kidnaps Max. He takes him to Iggy and Loretta’s apartment. They help hid the recently paroled Killer and his ill dressed son. Kenny Kane does not treat his son the way we would expect him to. He ties him up and tries to brainwash him into believing his is a “man of God. ” Kevin and the police show up causing Kenny Kane to ask for a gun and a car. This is the part where we start to question if Kenny Kane is truly a man of God or a hardened criminal.
Kenny ties Max to a heater in the burnt up basement. Loretta sneaks down to rescue the poor boy, when Kenny returns and starts to strangle her. We fear for Loretta… Will she survive? Will Killer Kane murder Loretta? Max flashes back to the night his mother is murdered. He mistakes what he is seeing for the night he witnessed his mother being murdered by his father. It was happening again. Max starts to yell as if he were a young boy again. This gets the attention of his father; however, his father then starts to strangle Max. He must eliminate the witnesses. Kevin then rolls into the basement to save his partner.
He is armed with a squirt gun filled with sulphuric acid (soap and curry powder). Kenny falls for the trick and they boys escape the basement and Kenny goes back to jail, where he serves out the remainder of his term plus ten years. Now that the family is safe we think all is well in the story, except we see the deterioration of Kevin. He is celebrating his birthday where he receives a new computer that will allow him to attend school while at home, again we see something is not right with Kevin. He isn’t eating his food or cake, but is just as opinionated as usual. As the party is ending, Kevin has a seizure and ends up back in the hospital.
Kevin gives Max an empty journal and asks him to write down the story of their adventures as “Freak the Mighty. ” Max doesn’t want to and doesn’t know how to do this task, but Kevin explains that he “won’t be coming home (we know now that something isn’t right with Kevin) in his present manifestation. ” Max returns the next morning to see Kevin and learns that Kevin did not live through the night. His doctor explains to Max that he made up the story of the robotic body to give himself hope for the future that he would be able to overcome his disease (he was growing on the inside, but not the outside).
Max goes into a depression, sleeping in his room, missing Kevins funeral, and Gwen moving away. He then runs into Loretta, who gives him some good advice, “Nothing is a drag kid! Think about it. ” Max relates to what Loretta states and starts to write the adventures of “Freak the Mighty. ” When he is finished he realizes that having Kevin for a friend for that short time was the greatest adventure he could have and he will let their adventures live on for others to read. My favorite part of Freak the Mighty was when they were running away from Tony D and his gang.
I loved this part, because Max had no idea what to do and Kevin was riding him like a horse. We see them going left and right. Max didn’t know which was which, so Kevin would kick him with his feet similar to that of a jokey. Max then knew what he was supposed to do. It was so exciting to see if they were going to make it out of that situation or if the gang was going to catch them. It was also how Kevin got the idea for them in the classroom to become the dynamic duo of “Freak the Mighty! ”
I would recommend this book to any student that wanted to read a funny, yet serious book about the adventures of two young boys struggling with themselves and society. It helps you to identify that their are people out there that give you hope that you can overcome your obstacles. Max overcomes his insecurities, his father, and the death of a good friend. Freak the Mighty really shows how people can persevere in any situation. All you need in life is a good friend and a story to tell. All in all, I loved this book!