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"Books are like truth serum-- if you don't read, you can't figure out what's real," Kevin Avery tells his friend Max in Rodman Philbrick's Freak the Mighty. Books are very important to Kevin, who also becomes known as "Freak". They help him to experience the world mentally in a way that his physical body, racked by a birth defect, never will. Freak reads for escape and information, and is able to take the very best of both for his own purposes. His favorite story is the legend of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table; so captivated is he by these legends that he refers to his mother, whose name is "Gwen" as the fair "Guinevere", or when he's being silly, the fair "Gwen of Air".
Because of the sheer volume of reading Kevin does, his vocabulary is phenomenal. He uses words like "archetype" with ease, and does his best to expand Max's vocabulary whenever possible, teaching him about words, even requiring Max to look them up in the dictionary he (Kevin) carries around at all times. Max's interest in this particular aspect of hanging around with Kevin is less than dynamic, and Kevin occasionally gives up. Once he attempts to make Max feel better by reminding him that the mighty dinosaurs who once ruled the earth had tiny brains.
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