The Book Reviews – Website

August 11, 2008

Freak the Mighty

Freak the Mighty

Author: Rodman Philbrick          

Page Length: 169

Reading Level: 5

Genre: Fiction        

PLOT SUMMARY: Max is a learning disabled student with no friends who has just finished seventh grade and is very large for his age. Max becomes friends with his new neighbor, Kevin, a boy the same age who has a health impairment, which has stopped his growth at about the height of three feet.  Kevin is very intelligent and quotes large words and their meanings to Max on a routine basis. Kevin lives with his mother, The Fair Gwen, next door to Max and his grandparents. Although the two boys are extreme opposites they bond and become know as “Freak the Mighty.”

During the summer, they spend hours together as Kevin shares his knowledge and imagination with Max.  They have several encounters with some adverse people who help build their reputation as “Freak the Mighty.”  The first boy they encounter is Tony D., the local gang leader. Then Kevin and Max come in contact with Loretta Lee and Iggy, who live in the “testaments”.  Next, they must work with Ms. Donelli, the English teacher; and last but not least, they meet Killer Kane, Max’s dad who has been in jail and just released on parole.

Kevin or Freak, as Max calls him, helps Max see that he is not as “dumb” as he thinks he is.  They convince the school principal that Kevin needs Max in his classes in the fall and the two become inseparable.  Together, they experience friendship accompanied by heartache, hurtful truths and a little bit of magic.

REVIEW:  This is a wonderful story of two quite different boys.  Although, they both have experienced a lot of heartache, together they find a life filled with magic and adventure.  It is a story of the underdog overcoming extreme odds or two underdogs who become one mighty force.

At the end of the book, the author gives tips to young writers on how to get started in writing.  Also, listed is an interview with the author and a list of Kevin’s dictionary.

This book is different from most books written for young adults in that it covers several issues that most of the public has trouble accepting.  And, he author does it in a humorous way. I think anyone above the age of twelve would enjoy this book. It would be especially good for anyone who is mentally or physically challenged.

AREAS FOR TEACHING: Character, Sequence of Events, Compare/Contrast, and Cause/Effect

RELATED BOOKS: Max the Mighty, Tangerine, The Outsiders

MOVIE CONNECTIONS:The Mighty” (1998)

RELATED WEBSITES:

www.rodmanphilbrick.com/teaching.html

www.ducation.pitt.edu/library/Clusters/Freak.html

www.en-herrick.k12.il.us/staff/…/ftm/activities/quest01-02.ht

www.seacoastnh.com/film/mighty.html

REVIEWED BY: Shirley Wagner

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