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Maniac Magee
 
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Jerry Spinelli
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Maniac Magee

3.86  ·  Rating details ·  105,054 Ratings  ·  3,728 Reviews
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.

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Published (first published 1990)
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Community Reviews

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David
Mar 06, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
He wasn't born with the name Maniac Magee. He came into this world named Jeffrey Lionel Magee, but when his parents died and his life changed, so did his name. Maniac Magee took to the streets.

And Maniac Magee became a legend.

Even today kids talk about how fast he could run; about how he hit an inside-the-park "frog" homer; how no knot, no matter how snarled, would stay that way once he began to untie it. Little girls jumping rope chant:
"Ma-niac, Ma-niac
He's so cool
Ma-niac, Ma-niac
Don't go t
...more
Liz
Sep 21, 2007 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I really didn't enjoy this book. I feel like the story didn't really go anywhere. Spinelli tried to touch on issues of racial prejudice and poverty, and let the exsistance of those issues carry his story. It didn't work. However because there are touchy issues, it becomes a story that isn't easy to complain about. However I'll be brave enough to say, "I didn't like it!".

As a personal note, I do not find this novel appropriate for children still in gradeschool.
Dawn
Oct 18, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A really neat book. Excellent! Definitely deserving of its Newbery Award. I think I have to give it a 5! I find myself asking, "Why didn't I ever read this before?" I've certainly heard of it for years. My fourth grade daughter just read it at school and loved it. I really enjoyed the narrative voice and style. It starts out almost like a tall tale, but what Maniac really accomplished is better than a legend. So it's a meaningful story that teaches an important lesson without being preachy. The ...more
Nelson B.
Feb 17, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Jerry spinelli is one of the best witers ever. Maniac Magee is a realistic fictionbook because maniac is invented but it could happen in real life.The perents of Maniac Magee died in a trolley crash.Maniac Magee was an orphan so his aunt and uncle adoped him.Maniac did"t like their house because they cant share.One day Maniac ran away because the hated in his aunt and uncle house.When he left he went to Two mills.In TWO MILLS it is white V.S black.I have schema with this book because maniac put ...more
Rodolfo A.
Feb 17, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I love this book because is telling me the time
when black people and white people were seperted.

This book is realistic fiction because there and
made up characters but,this happend real that black people
and white people were seperted.

Maniac parents died from a trolly crash.Maniac didn't have any
were to live so,he is an orphan.He met a girl name Amanda.Maniac
wentto amanda's house and lived with her.Later he met a boy name
mar bars.Some people from the west side and east side haet him so,
he went to
...more
Colleen Venable
Last week I came across a pile of free books on the ground...all copies of MANIAC MAGEE. I took one, knowing it was supposed to be good, but knowing nothing of the plot. It made me cry three times—twice because of the actual story of a homeless boy who brings together the white and black sides of a small town—but I cried the hardest because it felt so poignant given the sad craziness in the country right now. I don't talk politics online, mostly because my own personal believe system is simply " ...more
Rebecca McNutt
I loved this book when I was in junior high school. You know that scene in Forrest Gump where Forrest decides to just run across the country repeatedly? This book is very similar, but the extraordinary runner in this story is a boy who gets sick of his stuffy aunt and uncle.
Kelly
Aug 14, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Re-read in prep for teaching it to my younger group of kids this year. The structure of the book lends itself very well to teaching it in chunks and to illustrate its points clearly, which isn't why it's a classic of early middle school, I assume. Extra star for that- looking forward to discussions that arise from it.
Jeffrey Mohr
Jan 16, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mohr-grades-3-5
This book is one of my favorite books to use when I work with students. It approaches the concept of “race” and “racism” through the eyes of someone that just wants to make friends and doesn't understand why people would treat others differently just because of their looks. It also treats the main character as a whole person and shows the turmoil he goes through while dealing with the loss of loved ones and the sadness and depression that can result from that. Students need to see books that don ...more
Hilary
Maniac Magee is a book that stuck with me long after I read it in fifth grade for the first time. It stuck with me more than in just a life-long love of Butterscotch Krumpets, but also in the sweetness of the main character and the good that he finds in - well, everyone. Everyone wants to belong in some way, and often all it takes is a listening ear and sincerity to find the way to that person's heart. This book shows that in a way that is accessible to a kid, touching to an adult, and just... ...more
Patti Richards
Jan 05, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wow! Maniac Magee has to be one of the best middle grade novels I have ever read. The storyline is fascinating, but the mixture of reality, conjecture and legend is what kept me turning pages. I loved the hero, and I especially love the family from the “other side of town” that takes him in. They way they pour love into his lost little soul is amazing and very believable. I also really liked the way the author removed him from that home and gave him the ability to love the old man. Had he gone t ...more
Shanu
Aug 03, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
"Maniac loved the colors of the East End, the people colors.
For the life of him, he couldn't figure why these East Enders called themselves black. He kept looking and looking, and the colors he found were gingersnap and light fudge and dark fudge and acorn and butter rum and cinnamon and burnt orange. But never licorice, which, to him, was real black."

Oh, you precious little freak.

I don't really follow the thought that if people stopped talking about color of skin, then racism would disappear- a
...more
Elysa
Apr 04, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Really good book! I read it more than once!
Andrew Munroe
The ending of the book wasn't as I would think the writer would've ended it. Some parts of the book were confusing and hard to understand.
Janie Panda Lee
OMG! I forgot I read this until now, I loved this book!!! The story of Magee is do interesting.
Luke J
Sep 23, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I loved the book. It is about an orphan named Jeffery Lionel Magee who's parents died in a tragic wreck. He went to live with his uncle and aunt who hated each other, but they were strict Catholics so they refused to divorce. So when he couldn't take it anymore, he ran away. He ran all the way to a town called Two Mills. The town is divided by two sides, the East and the West. The West side is populated by Caucasian people, and the East is populated by African Americans. He wanders into the East ...more
Maddie
Jul 04, 2011 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This book is quite possibly one of the most poorly written works of fiction I have ever had the misfortune to stumble upon. I personally am not a fan of Jerry Spinelli (with the exception of Stargirl), and thought I would give him one last shot. Not only was the writing itself unbearable and slow, the topic is overused and cliché. The emotions are few and far between. Throw in there a sad, pathetic kid whose life does not improve whatsoever and some other worthless surface characters and you hav ...more
Rachel
Oct 14, 2008 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2009, fiction
It seems a sacrilege to not like this book. It has an excellent message, but the book wasn’t a good vehicle for getting this message across. The character of Maniac Magee is flat and unrealistic. He has no flaws, can do no wrong, and rarely exhibits real emotion. He is loved by all, completes amazing feats of bravery, athleticism, and intelligence, and changes the entire town he lives in. That kind of character isn’t realistic. The book never establishes if this is a fantasy world (where a boy c ...more
serprex
I stayed up all night reading this one. Finished it the next day, as it was a Friday PD day. 6th grade. Teacher came up with a set of topics & each student was assigned a topic. I was given the topic of the knot, some little plot device in the middle of the book. I was pretty annoyed that a girl in the class was assigned the widescale topic of the character, & demonstrated that she didn't get past the first chapter when she stated that they called him maniac magee because he was yelling ...more
Gabriel D
Probably the best book club book I've read in a while! This book takes place in a very interesting town named, Bridgeport. This town is separated by race. This book got me surprised that the town is separated by race and it takes place in the 2000s. I recommend this book to anyone who likes different types of stories.
Daniel Clausen
Mar 27, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: top-books
I still can't find the words to express what this book means to me. When I was in fifth grade reading this book, I felt like Magee. This book is as deep and soulful as any book that has ever been written for adults. I hope it remains on elementary school reading lists for years to come.
Shoa Khan
“Vowels were something else. He didn't like them and they didn't like him. There were only five of them, but they seemed to be everywhere. Why, you could go through twenty words without bumping into some of the shyer consonants, but it seemed as if you couldn't tiptoe past a syllable without waking up a vowel. Consonants, you know pretty much where you stood, but you could never trust a vowel.”

Maniac Magee, an orphan kid who's lived on the street and various homes, is nothing short of a legend
...more
Shel
Feb 18, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Spinelli, J. (1990). Maniac Magee. New York: Little, Brown and Company.

0316809063

As an orphan, Jeffrey Magee is sent to live with his aunt and uncle who live separately within their house and refuse to share anything. At the age of eleven, Jeffrey, unable to deal with his aunt and uncle’s refusal to interact or communicate, runs away. A year later, he appears in a strictly racially segregated town, doing amazing feats and running like a mad man, earning him the nickname, Maniac. Quick to make
...more
Razvan Zamfirescu
Kristin
Jan 06, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In my continuing quest to read all of the books Roosevelt students read in their language arts classes, I picked up Maniac Magee to read over winter break. I’m glad I did. Jerry Spinelli tells the story of Maniac Magee, an orphan who escapes an aunt and uncle who don’t communicate and becomes famous around town for his skills in sports, untying knots, and running. I liked Maniac’s observations on the ridiculousness of a town split by race and his efforts to improve race relations in his own smal ...more
Abby
Maniac Magee is a beautiful book.
I read it via audiobook. There aren't too many flawless audiobooks, but this is one of them. The narrator is perfect and the writing was good: a golden combination. I felt like the story was being told straight to me, so relaxed, so familiar, with rich voices and emotions. It was excellent.
As a kid, I wouldn't have cared for this book (it has too much baseball and too few animals), but as a young adult I loved it. Maniac is entirely endearing, and I loved to hea
...more
Stephen
This WOULD have been a childhood favorite. If it had been written 30 years earlier. As it is, it's a wonderful, light-hearted, good spirited book that deserves to be read by children of all ages (including those in their 50's)

Yes, it's a kid's book, but it's a fast fun read and adults would be well advised to give it a read as well. While it has much the same allegorical feel as Holes, in some ways it avoids a few of the pitfalls of that book.

As with any good fiction, there's some truth hidden
...more
Becky Bishop
Mar 27, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My absolute favorite book. Yes it is a children's book, but it is so amazing. You will not want to put it down. I read it to my class every year. I have only known about it for 4 years now. I wanted to read a book to my class and let everyone have a copy. We have literature sets at our school for checkout and Maniac Magee had the most copies, so I chose it. I didn't know anything about the book, but we read it as a class and I absolutely would recommend that everyone read it even if you are out ...more
Praxedes
Sep 14, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This cute but disjointed story chronicles the early life of an outcast, Maniac Magee, and his journey to find a home. It is laugh out loud funny at times, touching during others, but it lacks coherence. It reads more like a collection of anecdotes than a story or even a memoir. Magee is clearly endearing, and his nobility in the face of hardship makes him a hero of sorts. (Having near super-human powers doesn't hurt, either.) Middle schoolers will take a shine to this character for sure.
C C
The opening pages of this book are good. The writing is alive, and, well, "maniacal," and then it sort of melts into a gooey pile of pabulum. Lots of weird racial stuff takes place. I mean, if you wanted to use the book as case evidence of white guilt, it would work, 'cuz there's something fishy about this super-fast, orphaned white-kid who ends up living with a black family. Wishful thinking, Spinelli. It's too late. You're a honky.
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maniac magee 4 15 Oct 03, 2016 08:39PM  
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When Jerry Spinelli was a kid, he wanted to grow up to be either a cowboy or a baseball player. Lucky for us he became a writer instead.

He grew up in rural Pennsylvania and went to college at Gettysburg College and Johns Hopkins University. He has published more than 25 books and has six children and 16 grandchildren.
Jerry Spinelli began writing when he was 16 — not much older than the hero of his
...more
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“Nobody knows who said it first, but somebody must have: 'Kid's gotta be a maniac.” 22 likes
“Vowels were something else. He didn't like them and they didn't like him. There were only five of them, but they seemed to be everywhere. Why, you could go through twenty words without bumping into some of the shyer consonants, but it seemed as if you couldn't tiptoe past a syllable without waking up a vowel. Consonants, you know pretty much where you stood, but you could never trust a vowel.” 19 likes
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