Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Maniac Magee

by Jerry Spinelli

This is the tale of a runaway... Hey! What the heck is Sonlight trying to teach my kids here? This is the third runaway protagonist in a row. I should probably write them a letter or something. Anyway, the fact that "Maniac" Magee is a runaway is a secondary part of the character. "Maniac" is a classic... well, I don't what the label is. He's not quite the archetypical trickster, because he's not out to fool anybody. He's that type of magical personality--the person who can do amazing things, yet isn't self conscious about it. He's the innocent who steps into a setting and immediately and honestly brings the status quo into question by some child-like comment or by unknowingly breaking some social taboo. In this tale, the society that gets shaken up is Two Mills, Pennsylvania. The era of the story is unclear, but when "Maniac" arrives in Two Mills, the town is nice and orderly. The black folks live on the East End, the white folks live on the West End and everyone tries to keep to their own side of town. "Maniac", of course, goes where he pleases and makes friends and enemies on both sides of town in his quest for... well, why don't you just read the book to find that out. It's an enjoyable and somewhat quirky tale, well worth checking out.

LibraryThing link


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