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Quote 1

. . . it was Freak himself who taught me that remembering is a great invention of the mind, and if you try hard enough you can remember anything, whether it really happened or not.

This quote from Max’s narration in Chapter 1 introduces the theme of memory and remembering that carries through the novel. Max is haunted by difficult and traumatic memories from his past that he tries to avoid and is eventually forced to deal with. But the novel shows another side of memory, as well—the side that can keep good times and important relationships alive. In Chapter 22 Freak tells Max, “You don’t need a time machine if you know how to remember.” This turns out to be an important lesson for Max, who is about to lose his friend and will only be able to hold on to him in memory. Max eventually captures his memories of everything that happened with Freak, and maybe some things that did not, when he writes the story of Freak the Mighty in the blank book Freak gives him for just that purpose.

Quote 2

Is it really such a big deal for a boy to look like his father? . . . of course it’s a big deal, if your father happens to be in prison. Which everybody in town knows about . . . and the bigger I grow and the more I look like my old man, the worse it gets.

In this narration from Chapter 5, Max reflects on the fact that he resembles his father, whom everyone knows to be a dangerous criminal. Max knows he looks like his father, and because of his appearance, Max believes everybody expects him to be like his father, too. This is a major issue throughout the novel, and it speaks to the theme of appearances and the ways people can be misjudged based on their outward appearance. This quote lets readers know that Max is aware that people fear him because he looks like his father. Max suspects his grandparents are slightly afraid of him. Gwen is also afraid of Max, at first glance, but she recovers and apologizes. Throughout the novel we find out that others in the community are also afraid of Max. Max absorbs all of it, causing him to question himself and to wonder if he, like his father, is an “accident of nature.” In reality, however, Max’s personal interactions show that he is a compassionate and thoughtful person who is nothing like is father on the inside.

Quote 3

Freak is still holding tight to my shoulders and when they ask him for his name, he says, ‘We’re Freak the Mighty, that’s who we are.'

This line from Chapter 7 marks the birth of Freak the Mighty, the physical embodiment of Max and Freak’s friendship that represents how strong and whole they are together. By merging Max’s big, strong body and Freak’s intellect, the pair feel a sense of strength and power that neither of them has ever experienced on his own. Freak the Mighty becomes a symbol of the power of a friendship that gives them both the confidence and the strength to defend themselves against bullies, to be brave in the face of both imagined and very real danger, and to be the best versions of themselves. Throughout the rest of the book, Max and Freak face challenges that they would not have been able to overcome alone, but through their cooperation, they are able to accomplish what neither would have imagined possible.

Quote 4

Speak of this to no one, but at some future time as yet undetermined, I will enter that lab and become the first bionically improved human.

In this quote from Chapter 9, Freak tells Max a big lie about why he spends so much time at the hospital and the medical research center. This isn’t a casual lie. In fact, Freak takes Max on an especially long quest to the medical research center to provide a setting for the story. It is made clear, both to the reader and to Max, that it’s very important to Freak. Max doesn’t completely understand what Freak is telling him, but he believes him completely. Readers have reason to be skeptical. Freak is a known storyteller, and this one sounds fantastical. It is unclear whether Freak tells the story for Max’s benefit or for his own. It is also unclear why Max never questions Freak. Perhaps he trusts his friend so completely that it never even occurs to him he might be lying, or maybe Max chooses denial because it’s easier than facing the truth.

Quote 5

I won’t have the time, so you’ll have to do it. Just write it all down like you’re talking. Put in all the fun we had, the cool things we did. Our adventures.

In Chapter 23, on the night before he dies, Freak gives Max a blank journal and tells Max to fill it up with stories about their adventures. These words and Freak's gesture suggest that Freak knows he’s going to die. They also illustrate the confidence Freak has that Max can tell their story in a way that will allow their friendship and Freak’s memory to live on even though Freak himself will not. Freak knows how difficult writing is for Max, which is why he tells him to write it all down like he’s talking. And after taking some time with his grief, Max does just that, writing the story of Freak the Mighty, just like he remembers it. This revelation explains the unique voice of the novel. The author has written the text to sound like it was written by a 13-year-old boy who is writing his story exactly as if he were telling it out loud.

Quote 6

I don’t think it was a lie, Maxwell, do you? I think he needed something to hope for and so he invented this rather remarkable fantasy you describe. Everybody needs something to hope for. Don’t call it a lie. Kevin wasn’t a liar.

In Chapter 24, after Freak dies and Max discovers that the story Freak told about getting a bionic transplant was not true, Dr. Spivak tries to help Max understand why Freak made it up. This quote speaks to the idea touched on throughout the story that there are different kinds of untruths and that they should be evaluated differently depending on the intention behind them—that lies deceive, tales entertain, and fantasies can provide a measure of hope in an otherwise hopeless situation. Despite the fact that Freak tells stories throughout the novel, Dr. Spivak says that Freak wasn’t a liar. She believes his story was not a lie because it gave Freak and Max something to hope for.