Title: Freak the Mighty
Author: Rodman Philbrick
Even when you end up loving the books that you’re assigned to read, there’s just something about assigned reading that makes the task ridiculously more difficult than it should be. Such was the case with me and Freak the Mighty–I’ve known for weeks that I would be teaching this book to my students starting this coming Monday, and I just found every excuse in the book to keep putting it off. Of course, when I finally forced myself to get going already and just get it over with, it was over before I was ready for it to be. Ah, the sweet irony of loving a book that you didn’t want to start in the first place.
Freak the Mighty is a story that will rip your heart right out in the best kind of way–it’s about the unlikely friendship between a learning-disabled boy in this huge body (Max) and a fearless genius in a crippled body (Kevin, otherwise known as Freak). Both boys seem to have the one thing the other supposedly lacks (brains or brawn), and their friendship takes them on adventures they never could have dreamed of alone. But when Max’s father unexpectedly gets out of prison and comes after Max, the story starts hurtling in directions you never suspected.
I absolutely flew through the last 75 pages of this book because I just had to know how it all ended. And let me tell you, there I was at the plasma center with my blood getting sucked out of me, fighting back tears and anger and nostalgia at the end of the book while the people in the beds around me gave me sympathetic looks like, “Yeah, this needle thing stinks. So what?”
This book has the simple magic that is contained in so many of my favorite books from childhood–although the story is simple, the feelings that it stirred up in me were powerful, and it reminded me to be thankful for the many beautiful friends who have been sent into my life who, in many ways, complete me.
I can’t wait to see how my students respond to it.
My Rating: 5 Stars