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Literature / Freak the Mighty

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"I never had a brain until Freak came along and let me borrow his for awhile, and that's the truth, the whole truth. The unvanquished truth, is how Freak would say it, and for a long time it was him who did the talking."
Max Kane
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The story of Freak the Mighty is narrated by Maxwell Kane, a large boy who is self-described as stupid. He describes the time when he met and became friends with another boy named Freak. The two first briefly meet in daycare, where Freak is shown having to wear braces on his legs and uses crutches to walk. Skipping ahead a few years, Max is about to enter the eighth grade when Freak moves into a house on the same street. After going to Fourth of July fireworks together, where Max is able to save Freak from getting beaten up by a bully and his gang, the two become best friends. They are both able to help each other, with Max protecting Freak and Freak teaching him how to read, and end up going on several adventures together.

A 1993 young adult novel by by Rodman Philbrick. The book has a sequel called Max the Mighty, which takes place after Freak the Mighty's events. There is also a movie based on the book called The Mighty, even though it's very different from the book.

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For more by Rodman Philbrick see The Last Book in the Universe.


Freak The Mighty provides examples of:

  • Appropriated Appellation: Freak's real name is Kevin Avery, but earned that derisive nickname in daycare because of his disability. Given how he and Max call themselves "Freak the Mighty", he clearly wears the name with pride.
  • Badass Boast: "We're Freak the Mighty that's who we are. We're nine feet tall, in case you haven't noticed."
  • Big Damn Heroes: Freak saves Max from his (Max's) father just before the strangling could begin. He pulls on a few awesome boasts and then distracts him so that the police could arrive.
  • Big Guy, Little Guy: Max and Freak.
  • Bookworm: Worm in the sequel, hence the nickname.
  • Brains and Brawn: Freak and Max, of course. For crying out loud, Freak has read almost the whole dictionary and was smarter than the teacher in his advanced placement class, but he's crippled and pretty much physically weak. Max is said to be dumb from appearance, couldn't even read that well until Freak taught him how, but is big and has strength on his side. Together, with Freak being the control of Max of course, they make Freak The Mighty.
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  • Cloudcuckoolander: Freak.
  • Death by Newbery Medal: Freak. Oh, lord.
    • Freak knew about it, too, and created a fantasy in his mind that instead of going into the hospital to die he would actually be given biomechanical enhancements. Bless him.
  • Determinator: Freak.
  • Disappeared Dad: Both the protagonist's fathers. Max's dad had been arrested for killing Max’s mom but eventually though, he came back at Christmas and kidnapped him. Freak's dad, although he never gets mentioned again, was said from Loretta to disappear right after he heard that his son had a birth defect.
  • Domestic Abuse: Max's dad strangled his wife when Max was very young.
  • Gang of Bullies: The other children, with chants like "'Killer' Kane, 'Killer' Kane, had a son who has no brain!"
  • Gentle Giant: Max. Although he inherited his father's literally big genetics, and is according to Freak's Dictionary, one hundred eighty centimeters tall (six feet tall), he doesn't like fighting when it's completely necessary. Also, it's been told from Gram that he has his mother's heart and emotions. This is especially true in the movie, since as Freak says to him, he'll "pass on the fists" when he describes the definition of pacifist to him. Also, he only fought to defend himself and Freak.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: Max and Freak.
  • Ill Boy: Freak. He has some type of birth defect in which his internal organs grow too large for his body and do not function correctly. He does not survive. The disorder's technical name is Morquio Syndrome.
  • Manic Pixie Dream Girl: Freak qualifies as a rare male example of the non-romantic variety.
  • Meaningful Name: Max's grandpa, "Grim", rarely smiles. Freak even asks if he calls him Grim because he always looks grim. Freak himself could also qualify, he calls himself Freak because well, he's a freak.
  • Missing Mom: Max's mom, ever since before the beginning of the story. The grandparents were even talking about their "dearly departed" daughter every so often. Turns out that she was strangled by his dad when he was a toddler.
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: In the sequel, Max plays up his slowness at one point to avoid arousing suspicion.
  • Odd Friendship: Freak and Max.
  • Older Than They Look: Not exactly as huge as other characters. According to Freak's Dictionary at the end of the book, Freak is exactly seventy centimeters. That's only two feet and four inches. He still wears kid-like clothes. With that blond hair all over him, he looked like a five year old from the back, just like he was in his preschool days. Justified by the fact that he has morquio syndrome.
  • The Pollyanna: Freak. His mother too.
  • Punctuated! For! Emphasis!: One of the front covers has a caption underneath their picture saying, "Max. Freak. Best Friends. Forever."
  • Raised by Grandparents: Max.
  • The Sociopath: Max's father.
  • Teen Genius: If Freak knowing more than the teacher isn't one, then what is?
  • Trademark Favorite Food: Freak loves American Chop Suey.
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