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Maniac Magee Book Report

This book takes place in the late 1900s in Pennsylvania. It specifically takes place in West End, East End, and Two Mills. The main character is Maniac Magee, but he is known as Jeffery Magee in the beginning. Some minor characters are Amanda Beale (a nice girl), McNab (a big mean white kid), Mars Bar (a black bully), Earl Grayson (Jeffery’s second real caretaker), and Russel & Piper (McNab’s younger brothers). The problem in the book is that Jeffery/Maniac has no place /home where he belongs. There are several solutions, but most of them only work temporarily.

In the first part of the plot Jeffery Magee is orphaned at the age of 3. He is sent off to some relatives, but they are bad parents. He runs away. Then he meets Amanda at her school, and she (finally) gives him a book to read. He makes a few more odd appearances that day in town. One happens when he runs into a football practice and punts the ball, but then runs away immediately. He also rescues a kid from a “haunted” backyard. He then goes and eats dinner with some people.

He goes to the baseball field and hits McNab’s super fast pitch He is then known as Maniac. McNab goes after Maniac, and successfully chases him into the West End. West End is the side of town where the “black” people live. There Mars Bar rips a page of the book Maniac had off. He goes to Amanda’s house. He is allowed to stay with Amanda. Maniac is very good at helping, and is loved and accepted in West End. He becomes famous. He starts trash talking, but is told that it is unacceptable and so he stops.

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He doesn’t see that people dislike him. Then one day an old man calls him “whitey. Then the message “go home” is written on the Beale’s wall. He has an argument with Amanda on staying there. Then Maniac successfully unties Cobble’s knot (a huge tangled up string that nobody has been able to untie. Then Amanda’s book is destroyed. Maniac leaves town for the Beales and is chased by gangs. He goes to live in a buffalo pen.

He is found by Grayson, and is unofficially adopted. He is told a lot of interesting stories by Grayson. He then teaches Grayson how to read. Maniac and Grayson have a Thanksgiving meal together. Then the celebrate Christmas, which is even better. Soon after that Grayson dies. Maniac continues his journey.

He becomes a wanderer, and eventually attempted suicide from starvation. He meets 2 boys that are running away with a bunch of stolen food. They turn out to be McNab’s younger brothers. He follows them back to their house and lives with them for a while. There is no order there. He is only able to have power briefly before disorder continues. Then the McNabs start preparing for a rebellion of East End. He finally is kicked out after a failed birthday. Then he follows Mars Bar around for a while. They rescue Russel from drowning, and he seems different. Maniac goes to live in a buffalo pen, with no place to belong.

I would rate this book 4.5 star. It is realistic fiction with many social and human issues. I suggest reading it if you liked other Jerry Spinelli books. If you haven’t read any then start out by reading Wringer. It is one of his best books.

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Now it’s time to ruin the story for you. Here is the spoiler. The spoiler will now be shown (end of book). Maniac dies of cancer. No. That isn’t it. He gets a message from Amanda to come and live with her.

I hope that you liked this book report, as well as this book. In my opinion this book isn’t as good as Wringer. Wringer is Jerry Spinelli’s number 1 book.