Kevin is brilliant, but his body is so crippled by birth defects that he has to wear braces on his legs. Max is huge and powerful, but he has been so scarred by life that he feels dumb and worthless. Independently, each boy seems like half a person, but when they meet the summer before eighth grade starts, they join together, becoming inseparable friends as Freak the Mighty.
The novel Freak the Mighty tells the story of one defining year in the boys’ lives. It follows them through their first meeting, their summer adventures, their return to school, and even Max’s Christmas Eve kidnapping at the hands of his murderous father. Although the boys are eventually reunited, their happiness cannot last forever. Kevin’s health problems worsen, leading to his death and the end of Freak the Mighty. A devastated Max learns how to face the world without his best friend.
Full of what could be trite or maudlin subject matter—a learning-disabled narrator, a physically challenged boy, a convict father—Freak the Mighty integrates every element smoothly and naturally. The result is a charming, funny blend of realism and fairy-tale dreaming that in the end is very moving.