Maxwell has lived a pretty isolated boring life without social relationships. Freak, whose real name is Kevin, comes along and engages Maxwell in adventures and activities that Maxwell never thought he could experience. Maxwell had resigned himself to life as a loner and anticipated another boring summer.
Maxwell, also known as Max, lives with his grandparents. He has been ridiculed at school and picked on by bullies both in school and around the town. His reading and thought processing abilities are poor which has added to his self-isolation and bullying from others. He stays in the basement in the summer and looks through comic books.
Kevin moves next door and from their first meeting, Maxwell and Kevin make a connection. Kevin is outgoing and likes to engage in fantasy games and adventures. Maxwell has never had ideas like Kevin so when Kevin begins to engage Max in some of his ideas and adventures, Max is intrigued and joins him. Kevin’s body is short and dwarfed, so he cannot run or get about very easily. Maxwell carries him on his shoulders. Max becomes Kevin’s legs, and Kevin becomes Max’s brain. Together they are whole.
Kevin’s mother had been friends with Maxwell’s mother when his mother was alive. She accepts Maxwell and includes him in her life and as Kevin’s friend. Maxwell and Kevin spend their summer going about town and engaging in different activities played out as fantasies about knighthood; calling Kevin’s mother the Fair Gwen. For Maxwell, the experience has removed him from his state of isolation and brought him out to the world by doing fun things all summer instead of remaining in his basement bored and lonely. The meaning of summer has changed for Maxwell.