Freak the Mighty - Rodman Philbrick

The same year the movie "Simon Birch" (very loosely based on or "inspired by" or perhaps just "suggested by" John Irving's A Prayer for Owen Meany) was released, there was another movie called "The Mighty" which, on the surface, appeared to be much the same thing: an abnormally small kid with big ambitions, and his friendship with another boy that changes that boy. At the time, I had read Prayer (an excellent book) but didn't realize "The Mighty" was based on this little gem by Rodman Philbrick, which is actually a much different book, despite how similar the movies may have turned out to be. (For the record, "Simon Birch" shared almost no plot elements with Irving's book, so if that's what you're looking for you will be severely disappointed.)

Freak the Mighty is told by Maxwell Kane, a self-described goon who is big for his age and none too smart. One summer Max gets a new next-door neighbor: Kevin, aka Freak, who is smart and smart-mouthed but tiny and crippled with some never-quite-explained malady. They manage to hit it off, and together become Freak the Mighty, with Kevin riding on Max's shoulders and leading him on imaginary quests. It's comic and tragic by turns, though more light-hearted than Prayer since it's intended for younger readers. Still, it manages to be moving and you grow to love the characters quickly.

I don't know if the movie version is any better than "Simon Birch," but the book was worth the read.

Fed to jonathan's brain | November 20, 2005 | Comments (0)


Post a comment

Remember Me?