Chapters 5 and 6 Summary

After the Fair Gwen runs off precipitously with Freak, Max goes back to the down under and lies under his bed, where it is

cool and empty...[and] you don’t have to think about anything... you’re not even there.

He is soon interrupted by Gram, who knocks on his door and says she has just had a call from Gwen Avery, who wants to apologize to him. Gwen had been stunned to see how big Max has gotten and thinks she may have offended him by her reaction. Gram explains that Gwen had been a good friend of Max’s mother. She is “delighted” to know that he and her son, Kevin, are going to be friends and has invited him over for dinner.

Max, who really is “bigger than most people,” asks if he has to accept the invitation, and Gram responds gently that it would be “the right thing to do.” She tells Max that it was not him who scared Freak’s mother—but when Max asks, “Then who was it?” Gram evades the question and says she will “leave that to Gwen.”

Dinner with Freak and his mother turns out to be “not so bad” after all. Gwen talks a mile a minute, telling Max that she remembers him as a baby, when she and his mother and their group had been living over in the tenements. Freak bluntly mentions the growing resemblance between Max and his father, who is in prison, and Gwen looks uncomfortable. When Max asks Gwen if she had known his father personally, Gwen says, “Not very well.... He made it...difficult for your mother to have friends.”

The Fair Gwen makes hot dogs and potato salad, and everyone eats on paper plates outside in the backyard. Freak tells funny stories, and Max laughs so hard he chokes on his hot dog and ends up trying to sneeze it through his nose. Max has a great time and marvels at how happy he is when he goes back to the down under. To his surprise, however, when he lies on his bed, he is “crying like a baby.”

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(The entire section is 605 words.)