Title: Maniac Magee
Author: Jerry Spinelli
Genre: Middle Grade Fiction,
About The Book (from Goodreads):
Jeffrey 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.
Wow. I think I was in love with this book before I finished reading the second sentence:
They say Maniac Magee was born in a dump. They say his stomach was a cereal box and his heart a sofa spring.
They say he kept an eight-inch cockroach on a leash and that rats stood guard over him while he slept.
This book is written in a narrative that is part hear-say, part school-yard legend, and part facts. Magee’s story begins when he runs away from his Aunt and Uncle who hate each other, but will not divorce: “Never again to return to the house of two toasters. Never again to return to school.”
The words “run-away” are unlikely to ever be used more literally. Magee starts running and he doesn’t stop. He runs right out of town, and into the next town, and into a neighborhood where he does not belong. But that’s the best thing about Magee, he has no idea where he does belong, and in an attempt to leave his only family behind, he ends up making a new family.
I don’t want to give anything away, but I will say this book touches on what it means to be family, the difficulties of friendship, different types of kindness, and most obviously–– racism. I am slightly confused as to what era this book is supposed to be set in, but my best guess is the 1960’s or 70’s.
Overall: Five Stars! Great book. Love the writing style.