Freak the Mighty Too Coarse, Violent and Graphic for Young Readers
I believe that the graphic imagery of Killer Kane keeping his son tied up and the son witnessing him trying to kill Loretta by strangling her, as he, (Kane), had also done to the mother, is an image too difficult for students younger than high school to process. The image of Max pleading with his daddy to get off of Loretta while reliving the same manner of murder of his mother at the hands of his father, is one that I even as an adult kept playing over and over in my head like a movie, trying to rationalize it, as one would after witnessing a horrific event in person. However, you can't rationalize violence. While I am not a book banner in any way, I do think that some topics are fine presented in one fashion, but may not be acceptable when presented in another fashion, for certain age groups. We have struggled for years with the balance of a child needing a high reading level but the concepts in those books being above his maturity level. Frankly, some books have themes and content with which I don't think even we adults should clutter our brains. There are other wonderful books out there that deal with these same themes in a less troubling manner. We are a family with one child with a disability and so I understand partly why the author tried to present some of these related ideas, but I think the coarseness of life throughout and violence overshadows any positive message that might otherwise be gleaned by the reader. Most readers imagine themselves as the main character of a book, while reading it. Children reading Freak the Mighty, will imagine themselves in the position of Max, seeing their fathers kill their own mothers and another woman by strangulation, among other in appropriate content of this book. From now on, I am reading my child's assigned school books from cover to cover.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much swearing