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We are introduced to our narrator Max, and boy is he a handful.
Back in the day, when he was in daycare, his nickname was "kicker." Why? Well, it turns out he had—and still has—"a way of saying things with my fists and my feet" (1.1).
Max currently lives with his grandparents, who he calls Gram and Grim. When he was younger, they tried to put him in daycare to "improve his temper" (1.3). But instead, he invented a bunch of new games, all of which involved kicking other kids and sometimes teachers. Oops.
It was in daycare where he first met Freak, a "fierce" boy who Max never got around to kicking. Sounds like the making of a beautiful friendship.
Max was seriously jealous of Freak's crutches and the braces on his legs because they made Freak seem like a robot.
One day, Freak disappeared from daycare and Max didn't see him again until 3rd grade. Even then, he only saw him from the window of what he calls a "cripple van" (1.9).
Yeah, Max isn't exactly the most politically correct narrator.
But it turns out Max has his own problems. One day, he overhears his grandparents talking about how much Max looks like "him."
They're talking about Max's father, but they won't say his name. Dun dun dun.