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Freak the Mighty Paperback – June 1, 2001

785 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Two eighth-grade misfits-one physically impaired, the other with a learning disability-become fast friends in a story PW found "choked with cliches and stereotypes." Ages 10-14.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From School Library Journal

Grade 6-9-A wonderful story of triumph over imperfection, shame, and loss. Large, awkward, learning-disabled Maxwell Kane, whose father is in prison for murdering his mother, and crippled, undersized Kevin are both mocked by their peers; the cruel taunting they endure is all too realistic and believable. The boys establish a friendship-and a partnership. Kevin defends them with his intelligence, while Max is his friend's "legs," affording him a chance to participate in the larger world. Inspired by tales of King Arthur, they become knights fighting for good and true causes. But Kevin's illness progresses, and when he dies, Max is left with the memories of an extraordinary relationship and, perhaps, the insight to think positively about himself and his future. The author writes with empathy, honoring the possibilities of even peripheral characters; Kevin and Max are memorable and luminous. Many YA novels deal with the effects of a friend dying, but this one is somewhat different and very special.
Libby K. White, Schenectady County Public Library, NY
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 3 - 7
  • Lexile Measure: 1000L (What's this?)
  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Scholastic Paperbacks; Reprint edition (June 1, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0439286069
  • ISBN-13: 978-0439286060
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 5.5 x 7.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (785 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,686 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

47 of 50 people found the following review helpful By Bud Sturguess on February 27, 2002
Format: Paperback
Rodman Philbrick's ability to write interesting literature that appeals to young readers (especially teens) comes in handy with "Freak the Mighty." This rather poignant and affecting novel follows the unlikely "Odd Couple"-like friendship between Max--who lives with his grandparents, and is an enourmous eighth grader on the slow side, yet has plenty of common sense, surrounded by his father's reputation as a convicted killer--and Kevin, dubbed "Freak"--a 13 year old genius plagued with a birth defect that keeps him the size of a six year old.
Aside from being physically contradictory, Kevin's book smarts and well-read brilliancy seem the exact opposite of Max's poor grammar and lack of motivation. But almost phenomically, in a karma-like manner, the two become instant companions.
Their "quests" in the "yonder" of the nighborhoods reveal some rather interesting characters. Speaking of which, Philbrick explores the qualities our narrator Max, and his buddy Kevin, without missing a detail.
Being thirteen when I read this book, my thoughts allthroughout reading "Freak the Mighty" were, "How can some old guy know how WE talk, how WE think?" I was shocked at myself for crying when I had finished the final chapter.
Together, Max and Kevin become "Freak the Mighty" with their un-cliched friendship and dependance upon one another.
Philbrick's novel is wonderfully humanistic; there's just something so reassuring in the human race about the thought of the giant Max walking with the enthusiastic three-and-a-half foot Kevin hoisted onto his shoulders.
Young readers will fall in love with "Freak the Mighty" for its realistic portrayal of a teenager, while adults will undoubtedly savor its humane touch.
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23 of 26 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 13, 1997
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This book has a wonderful plot.Here are the 2 characters that make the book so good: Maxwell Cane {Kicker},the main character with a heart of gold and Kevin{Freak},a boy whose has the body of a 5 year old but, has the mind of a genius and the insides of a nomal 13 year old {which cause trouble}. They are not the most likely pair but together they are Freak the Mighty with the right combination of brains (Freak) and brawn (Max). The pair go on many exciting adventures including a trip to Loretta and Iggy Lee's house. Iggy is the leader of the panheads, a motorcycle gang feared by everyone. Loretta is Iggy's girlfriend. Iggy and Loretta know the dreadful Kenny Kane who is in jail for strangling Max's mother (which explains why he lives with his grandparents). If I tell you any more I will spoil the book for you. But I will give you one hint. Kenny Kane is back. This is a exquisite book. My teacher read it out loud and my whole six grade class roared at the funny parts and really wanted a different ending. I think Max is someone to relate to and recommend this book highly to all kids who love reading and a great story. Be sure to check out the back of the book for Freak's dictionary.
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21 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Krista on February 19, 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Thirteen year old Max Kane has a major problem with self-esteem. But who wouldn't, given what he's been through?
His mother is dead, murdered years before by his father, who is now serving time in prison. Max lives with his grandparents in a basement room, rarely emerging from his "down under" world because he thinks he's too huge and too stupid to function.
When Kevin moves next door, though, Max's life begins to change. Kevin, also thirteen, has the body of a young child but the brain of a grownup. The two become friends and allies, combining their strengths and uniting as "Freak the Mighty." Max has the muscle power, while Kevin has the imagination (and teaches Max to unlock his own). The two embark upon various hilarious and suspenseful adventures, culminating in a kidnapping and a daring rescue.
The best part of the book, besides the terrific story of a friendship, is the writing style. Narrated by Max, the story reads like an eighth grade boy's monologue -- conversational, funny, and instantly appealing.
This book is a real treasure.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Paul on February 20, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Who's that big kid? And who is his tag along? This is
what one might think if you first saw the two main
characters in Freak the Mighty by Rodman Philbrick.
Combined, these two become a marvelous team and take
on many challenges. Maxwell, the large boy, and Kevin,
the smaller of the two, are both different from
everyone else and from each other, yet they can
understand each other like no one else can. Freak the
Mighty explores the concept of overcoming
differences and using your imagination to go places
you have never been. The author takes you for a walk
in someone's shoes filled with many emotions, yet
leaves you satisfied with the ending.
The story is set in a small town city where you cannot
hide much from anyone. Maxwell, Freak, is consider
slow by other people's standards until Kevin moves
next door. The author does a nice job of developing
the characters in a way that the reader becomes
attached and is curious to read on. Maxwell helps
freak learn how to do more than what he actually can
do. Kevin is smart and gives Maxwell and the reader
many things to think about. "Remembering is just an
invention of the mind" (Philback 141,) Kevin says to
Maxwell one afternoon.
The plot is filled with many twists and turns. One
day they are taking a calm quest to the hospital where
Kevin goes and the next they are running for their
lives from the bullies. These turns help add to the
emotions and feelings that a reader feels. It is hard
to predict what is going to happen from one section to
the next. There are many different conflicts that
keep it interesting and exciting.
Read more ›
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