"Freak the Mighty,"s a young adult novel by Rodman Philbrick, tells the tale of an unlucky friendship between two outcasts. While Max is an outcast for his large size and troubled family history, Kevin -- "Freak" -- is an outcast due to of his small stature and physical disability. The two create the duo "Freak the Mighty" and begin a series of adventures together. The exposition introduces key information about the characters and shows the beginning of their friendship.
Max, the "Mighty"
The book starts with an introduction of Maxwell, who goes by Max. Though it is the summer just before he is going to enter the eighth grade, Max is as big as a man, making him stand out from his peers. Max also has very low self-esteem because of a learning disability that makes him feel stupid and because of his family. His father is in prison for killing his mother, and others treat him differently because of it. His grandparents worry because Max resembles his father, and they wonder if he will have his personality traits as well.
Kevin, the "Freak"
Kevin is the same age as Max, but he is much smaller than his peers. He has Morquio syndrome, an inherited disease that causes physical disabilities. Kevin has to wear braces on his legs and walk with crutches. Despite his physical disabilities, Kevin is very smart. He is Max's opposite in both physical size and in intelligence. Once the two form "Freak the Mighty," they complement each other with their strengths, with Max providing the muscle and Kevin providing the brains.
The exposition includes Max reminiscing about the first time he met Kevin, which happened when they were both much younger and in daycare. Max recalls seeing Kevin's leg braces and thinking they were cool. He liked the way Kevin talked about becoming a robot -- though it is not until much later that he realizes that the reason Kevin talked about replacing his body with machine parts was because his body was failing him. The early memory of meeting in daycare helps to fill in the complete story of "Freak the Mighty," which Max is writing.
Start of a Friendship
The exposition ends with Max and Kevin becoming friends. Kevin and his mother move in next door to Max and his grandparents. Max tries to be friendly, but Kevin is rude to him at first. One day, Kevin is playing with an airplane that gets stuck in a tree. Max helps him to get it out, helping to break the tension and get their friendship started. Then the adventures of "Freak the Mighty" begin.