Author: Jerry Spinelli
Genre: Realistic fiction
Reading Level: Ages 11-15
Reviewed by: Anonymous, grade 9
Jeffrey Lionel, "Maniac Magee," would have had a fairly normal childhood, but, sadly, a tragic accident that killed his parents left him an orphan who had to be taken care of by his unhappy aunt and uncle. This made Jeffrey unhappy himself. He decided to run away, and he eventually found an escape from his lonely, tumultuous life. His escape method was simply running. This in turn gave him his nickname, "Maniac Magee." He changed lives and attitudes in a racially charged and biased town. This eventually led Jeffrey to an unexpected change in himself, too.
Maniac Magee is an exciting and thought-provoking book! The core idea of this book is that in all races and colors there are good and bad people both. The book shows us that we cannot judge a book by its cover even if we get backlash and hate from society for it, and that we should all be welcoming and open to different walks of life and cultures. From them, we might learn something amazing and new that we would never have gotten a chance to know otherwise.
This book inspired and taught me that you can never judge someone by the way they look or seem to you on the outside, and that everyone should have a chance to prove themselves and their reputations before you go off making assumptions about them. Maniac Magee is perfect for someone who loves the classic, feel-good books, yet wants the touch of reality that makes it that much more captivating! This book is also a Newberry Gold Medal Winner, which makes this book suitable for even the young novel enthusiast. To sum it all up, this book is moving and really causes you to take a step back and evaluate the way you and others treat and are treated by one another. Rating: 5
Editor's note: You can also watch the movie online, here.