"We are of opinion that instead of letting books grow moldy behind an iron grating, far from the vulgar gaze, it is better to let them wear out by being read." - Jules Verne
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Saturday, August 11, 2018

FREAK the MIGHTY by Rodman Philbrick

Originally Published in 1993.

A lonely gentle giant named Max and his tiny Kevin, nicknamed "Freak", become neighbors and eventually the best of friends in this "coming of age" story.

Max lives in the basement of his grandparents' house. His grandparents are raising him because his father, Killer Kane, killed his mother. Other kids taunt Max because of this. Max just goes through the motions at school.

One day, Max meets Kevin (Freak). Kevin has Morquio Syndrome which has caused him to be very small. But, Kevin is also very bright and very willing to engage the world. Max, despite his large size, would prefer to be ignored by everyone. Kevin begins taking Max on so-called quests - basically they are exploring the neighborhood but Kevin makes them sound so much more interesting once he describes these trips in his own imaginative style.

Max carries Freak on his shoulders as they travel, an arrangement that works out well for both of them. Freak can travel more freely on Max's shoulders and Max discovers that he is not nearly as dimwitted as he thought he was - you can't be slow in the head and keep up with Freak. Freak says that the two of them, when combined, are a new thing called "Freak the Mighty".

There are two issues these young friends have to deal with, however - Freak's failing health and the legacy of Killer Kane in Max's life...

My daughter read this book in her sixth grade class (the whole class read it together) so I decided to read it as well. It's a good story, even if it is a little cliche, but it still gets you in the end ("right in the feels" as a former high school student of mine would say). There is a sequel, but I doubt I'll read it - I liked the way things were left at the end of this story.

I rate this book 5 stars out of 5 and it can be found on Amazon.com here: Freak the Mighty by Rodman Philbrick.

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