Difference and attraction

Freak the Mighty

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27. Freak the Mighty by Rodman Philbrick

I have read this before, and both times found it funny, poignant and a great story. Our narrator, Max, is orphaned of his mother, because his father (who he increasingly physically looks like) killed her. He lives with his maternal grandparents, and obviously no-one has anything good to say about his father. Unfortunately his family is well known locally, meaning people (including his grandparents) are constantly reminding him of the things that happened when he was a little boy, and worrying aloud that the resemblance will be more than superficial. This seems to have caused him to retreat into the persona of a big lug: large, physically strong and with little or no academic prowess (even though at least some of his teachers think he has potential if he’d use it).

Things start to change when a good friend of his mother’s returns to the area, moving into the house next door with her son, happy to be nicknamed Freak, who Max remembers going to preschool with. Freak is physically weak and very small in stature, but has a highly developed intellect and taste for pretence and adventure. The two strike up a strong friendship, with Max becoming the Mighty part of the duo, and each enabling and encouraging the other to be more than he can alone.

While each retains some secrets, the two boys do each other a lot of good in many ways, with Max in particular being a stronger, more confident and more accepted member of his family and community.

There is apparently a film of this book, entitled simply The Mighty, but I haven’t seen it.

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4 Responses to “Difference and attraction”

  1. hakea Says:

    How lovely, thanks for the review.

    What age range would you say it’s suitable for?

    • kaet Says:

      Good question. Adolescents, I think. There’s violence later on in the book (some referring back to what happened to Max’ mother) so for younger strong and mature readers it might be helpful for a parent or other adult they could talk to to have read it. Of course, I’m a lot more into that idea as an adult than I was as a child reader…

  2. Karyn @ kloppenmum Says:

    I’m always impressed by the amount you read (used to be me!) and the thoroughness of your reviews. Thanks for these Kaet, I do read them and appreciate them even if I’m lurking most days. 🙂

    • kaet Says:

      Thanks! I’ve been trying to be better about the reviews. If you look back to the first year of this blog they were mostly just a line or two.

      People told me I wouldn’t be able to read as much once I had children, but for now it’s something I can do while getting her off to sleep (and attempting to keep her there). We’ll see what happens in future…

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