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Maniac Magee by Jerry Spinelli
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Maniac Magee (original 1990; edition 1999)

by Jerry Spinelli

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4,930163928 (3.98)1 / 80
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Summary: This book follows the story of Jeffrey Lionel Magee, a.k.a. Maniac Magee, a young orphaned boy who runs away from his aunt and uncle's house, and just keeps running until he becomes a legend. His amazing feats make him a myth in the small town of Hector, Pennsylvania. Maniac meets a number of very interesting people, on both sides of town, and by the time he finally settles down, he has managed to effect a significant amount of change on the racially divided town.

Review: I loved reading this book...Maniac is just such an awesome kid. He sticks to his own idea of what is right and wrong, and is so fearless and adventurous in a way I only am in my wildest daydreams. Eleven-year-old Maniac is such a winning protagonist, and his adventures are just so out there that you can't help but read this book beginning to end, wishing there were more pages after the last one. I love that Maniac manages to cross the racial divide of the town, and that this one little eleven-year-old boy can positively impact so many people's lives. An excellent book from start to finish.

Central Idea of Maniac Magee: Legends all have a basis in fact, and people become legends by positively impacting the lives of a large number of people. ( )
  jlampr1 | Sep 16, 2014 |
Jeffrey Magee is living a normal life until his parents are killed in a trolley accident when he's three. So he is sent to go live with Aunt Dot and Uncle Dan. Uncle Dan and Aunt Dot are strict Catholics who hate each other. Maniac grows up in a bad house hold, he isnt loved and he is usually quiet. When he is 11 yrs. old finally had enough, and takes off running, literally. He runs for miles and miles a year, and ends up in Two Mills, Pennsylvania.

Two Mills is a divided town. The East and the West End are separated by Hector Street. Maniac's first stop is the East End, where he meets Amanda she owns a suitcase of books. Maniac goes from the East and West End over and over again, making a few friends, but mostly enemies. Maniac dosent relize that the West End is entirely Cacuasion and the East End is entirely Aferican American. love this book because its about a boy who is running away and has to take care of him self, which I would never be abel to do. And this is my review on Maniac Magee by Jerry Spinelli. ( )
  sydney.b1 | May 20, 2014 |
This book just didn't do it for me. I loved "Stargirl," so when I saw this was Spinelli's Newberry Medal winner I had high expectations, but it just seemed odd somehow. I think the characters were so broadly written that they weren't interesting to me. I appreciated the message about race, of course, but there are surely better books about this subject... ( )
  BrianEJanssen | Apr 27, 2014 |
Maniac Magee follows the story of an orphaned boy looking for a home in the town of Two Mills. He becomes a local legend for his amazing athletic feats and for confronting the racism that sharply divides the town. ( )
  WizardsofWorch | Apr 22, 2014 |
I loved this book. My teacher read it to me in fifth grade, and I was hooked from the beginning. After reading it again, I love it even more. My favorite thing about the book is the language. The majority of this book is written with the use of figurative language. The book begins, “They say Maniac Magee was born in a dump. They say his stomach was a cereal box and his heart a sofa spring.” Looking at this very first page, I can see three more examples of figurative language, and it makes the story very unique. Even though this book is written with a lot of exaggeration and includes events that could never happen, it pushes readers to think about racism. In this book, the town is divided into the East End (blacks) and the West End (whites). Maniac Magee is oblivious to this separation, and continues to go back and forth. Not only does Maniac Magee push the readers to think about this issue that once occurred, he also pushes the characters to think about the issue. The central message of this book is that the color of your skin has nothing to do with the kind of person you are. ( )
  kjacks26 | Mar 17, 2014 |
Maniac Magee explores the racial boundaries that are broken with the help of Maniac Magee. This book teaches a lesson on friendship and learning to accept others no matter how they look.
  Laaaron | Dec 10, 2013 |
I had to read this book for one of my classes and I didn't enjoy it as much as the other students. It was a little boring to me but there were some interesting parts like when he intercepted a football pass, or hit homeruns off a great athlete's fast ball, etc. He earned the nickname "maniac" because of all the crazy things he can do. So there are some parts of the book that I like, but also some that I didn't. It's a good read for students if they want to read about all the insane things Magee does.
  khanai | Dec 9, 2013 |
Jeffrey Lionel Magee is living a normal life until his parents are killed in a tragic trolley accident when he's three. He's sent to live with his Aunt Dot and Uncle Dan, and, despite Dot's sporty name, it's not a fun household. Uncle Dan and Aunt Dot are strict Catholics who hate each other, meaning Maniac grows up in a loveless, largely silent house. When he's 11-years-old, he's finally had enough, and takes off running. Yup, literally running. He runs for a couple hundred miles and a year, and ends up in Two Mills, Pennsylvania.
  ginamaria14 | Dec 9, 2013 |
Maniac Magee tells of a boy who lives on his one and the crazy situations he gets stuck in. He also doesn't understand the racial differences that occur in this world. He shows throughout the book that everyone is equal and how to see past these nonsense rules that dictate who is entitled to certain things. ( )
  rcsmart12 | Dec 6, 2013 |
I found this to be sort of an odd book. I had originally read bits and pieces of this book to some of my campers when I had worked it at a summer camp. I think I actually liked it better not having read the whole book. The main theme of the book was to portray the lack of differences between color in skin.

This book is written in the style of tall tales, as Maniac McGee has a variety of skills. He spends the book trying to find a family that wants him. While I feel the jumping around a lot can be beleivable, there was no real spark to this,. book throughout the story. While he was not like most kids, which sends a positive message towards the loners. I just feel like there was not real point to the book. I personally would have enjoyed more substance.to his random competitive behavior. I would have liked to know more of the impact it had on him personally.

I felt that the characters were uneven as well. While I liked Amanda, and Jeffery, there seemed to be holes in description. I felt I wanted to know more about the characters and there was a lot to be desired. For example, I wanted to know more about why Maniac did not want to go to school, and yet forced others to go. I also wanted to know more of why Amanda felt the need to kick Maniac out. Also, I just did not feel too emotionally attached to any of the characters either.

I did like the sense of adventure and the desire for community though. I would have liked to have less focus on a variety of characters that did not seem to be driving forces of the story. ( )
  larasimmons2 | Nov 24, 2013 |
I've never met a Newberry Honor book I didn't like--this one was no exception (how's that for a triple-negative?). This is a great story about overcoming prejudice and what a family really means. It was clean, and I'd recommend it for 10-year-olds & up. A little bit of racism stuff and name-calling is the only problem, but nothing filthy. I love Jerry Spinelli's descriptions! ( )
  jessibelle34 | Jul 12, 2013 |
effrey Lionel "Maniac" Magee might have lived a normal life if a freak accident hadn't made him an orphan. After living with his unhappy and uptight aunt and uncle for eight years, he decides to run--and not just run away, but run. This is where the myth of Maniac Magee begins, as he changes the lives of a racially divided small town with his amazing and legendary feats.
Amazon.com review ( )
  ntaha | Jun 18, 2013 |
I can see older children loving this book. Maniac Magee is a simple honest character just trying to get through life. He doesn't judge people, but he is often judged. His special baseball throw at the end of the story was great. ( )
  nancysauve | Jun 18, 2013 |
This is a cute story about Maniac Magee. I got to sit through a middle school class while they read this book. Its different when you see it from a teaching perspective then reading for pleasure but I think the kids liked the book. Its a fast read (for some) and well I think the story is good. ( )
  avidreaderlisa | Jun 1, 2013 |
I recommend this book to some of my more reluctant readers, and (often) they enjoy it. Not only is this a fun adventure story, but his book is a positive example of how even one young person can make a huge difference in the lives of others. Maniac doesn't have much of a support system, but he still is able to be a uniting force in his community. ( )
  YvetteKolstad | Apr 30, 2013 |
I'm 80% sure I read this book when I was younger, but I didn't remember anything about it.

It was a very cute book about an orphan kid, Jeffrey "Maniac" Magee, and his quest to find a home. And along the way he runs a LOT. He's a kid of many talents and very open-minded opinions, who one can't help but like. Solid book. ( )
  saraferrell | Apr 3, 2013 |
Family Life
Individuality
Prejudice and Tolerance Experiences ( )
  LeaMae | Mar 16, 2013 |
I did not personally enjoy this book, but it has some good messages. It has kind of an outdated feel to it. ("Butterscotch krimpets" etc.) I was surprised to learn that the book was published in 1999 because of this. The novel follows the story of Jeffery Magee, an orphan who wanders into a segregated town where skin color means everything. However, Jeffery is too naive and innocent to judge people based on race. Jeffery becomes known in both sides of town as Maniac Magee for amazing feats. He is not the typical kid his age, Jeffery is responsible and loves to wake up early, do the dishes, and run. Eventually this lost orphan finds a family, and an address. ( )
  hreilly | Feb 5, 2013 |
I think that resistance is between the east and west (black and whites segregation). The relationships are what really stuck out to me. Jeffery was almost able to befriend anyone, even though he ran into a few problems they didn’t last long. His friendship with the Beales evolved into him being a part of the family. Jeffery was looking for a home that he never thought he would find, but in the end he did with the Beales. He finally stopped running. ( )
  starkss | Dec 11, 2012 |
Great read. Poor beginning,ran away. Made friends along the way. Many wanted to befriend him and give him a home. Many years getting a home. ( )
  cabinmn | Nov 27, 2012 |
This book is about an orphan child, living with his unhappy and unwelcoming aunt and uncle. After living there unhappily for eight years, he decides to run away. This book is meant for upper and middle elementary students. ( )
  JennaScott | Nov 23, 2012 |
In this modern-day tall tale, Spinelli ( Dump Days ; Jason and Marceline ) presents a humorous yet poignant look at the issue of race relations, a rare topic for a work aimed at middle readers. Orphaned as an infant, Jerry Magee is reared by his feuding aunt and uncle until he runs away at age eight. He finds his way to Two Mills, Pa., where the legend of ``Maniac'' Magee begins after he scores major upsets against Brian Denehy, the star high school football player, and Little League tough guy, John McNab. In racially divided Two Mills, the Beales, a black family, take Maniac in, but despite his local fame, community pressure forces him out and he returns to living at the zoo. Park groundskeeper Grayson next cares for the boy, but the old man dies and Maniac moves into the squalid home of the McNabs, who are convinced a race war is imminent. After a showdown with his nemesis, Mars Bar, Maniac bridges the gap between the two sides of town and finally finds a home. Full of snappy street-talk cadences, this off-the-wall yarn will give readers of all colors plenty of food for thought. Ages 8-12. (Apr.) ( )
  robynr | Nov 10, 2012 |
Newbery Medal Winner. RGG: Very enjoyable, humorous story about a special boy, who finds himself a family (many different familes) and also breaks down a racial barrier.
  rgruberexcel | Nov 6, 2012 |
It is still one of my favorite books . ( )
  shaqthebeast777 | Oct 30, 2012 |
This is good. A kid runs away from home. ( )
  bossitup | Oct 30, 2012 |
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