Childrens Books

Maniac Magee by Jerry Spinelli: A Book Review

What can happen to a boy in a few years of his life? Plenty, if you’re the stuff legends are made of. The legend is Jeffrey Lionel Magee, also known as Manic Magein the book of the same name, by Jerry Spinelli.

He was born in an ordinary house, to ordinary parents. But when a wagon crashed into the river, killing them, Jeffrey’s life began to change. He was sent to live with his Uncle Dan and Aunt Dot, who lived together but shared nothing and never spoke to each other.

After eight years of this, one day Jeffrey started screaming during a school play. Then he ran out of the auditorium, and he didn’t stop.

This is how his life as a homeless child began. He found himself in the black part of town, with a girl who carried her entire library in a suitcase, back and forth to school. After begging her, Amanda finally lent her a book to read.

After that, the stories about her began. He was the only boy…ever…ever!…not afraid to enter the Finsterwald garden. If you lost your baseball or your model airplane because it flew over the fence in his backyard, you didn’t dare go there to retrieve it. No one would deliver papers there. No one would shovel that sidewalk, not even for a million dollars.

But Jeffrey Magee was not afraid. He saved Arnold when high school students tried to throw him, screaming, over the fence in Finsterwald’s backyard. These things, along with his athletic feats, are what made people call him “Maniac”, and the name stuck.

But he had no home. He jumped the fence at night to sleep with buffaloes at the zoo. He would sneak into Mrs. Pickwell’s house for dinner once in a while, and nobody thought anything was wrong, because they had so many kids to begin with, and usually a few friends too, that everyone everyone thought he was just someone else’s friend. .

More than anything, though, it’s a story of Maniac and the friends he makes, the battles he fights, and the challenges he faces. So many things happen to him, there’s more here than an encyclopedia.

The chapters are short and the way the people and events of his life intertwine throughout the book is interesting. Through it all, Maniac continues to run, run, run, looking for a place and people to come home to.

It’s been a popular book with children since it was published in 1990. That’s partly because there’s so much going on, and partly because Maniac and the things he does are so unusual. The kids can understand that he doesn’t feel like he belongs anywhere, but he keeps trying.

This is a difficult book to categorize. It’s not really about sports, although there is baseball and running. It touches on racism, but it’s not the biggest part of the story either. you will have to read Manic Mageby Jerry Spinelli, yourself, to see what you think.

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