Yup, we lined up to reserve Amanda Beale as our BFF, too. What's not to love? She's loyal, bossy, determined, bossy, loving, bossy. And sometimes she's a little bossy. And we find this out about her right away: "'Maybe you better go ask your mother and father if you live here or not.'" (3.28). To be honest, she reminds us a little of this gal.
All joking aside though, she's the perfect entry into friendship for Maniac. She's so determined that she won't give up on Maniac, even when he's given up on himself. Like this: when Maniac is feeling hopeless about staying in the East End, Amanda takes charge:
'So you see,' said Amanda, 'if you go up there and untie Cobble's Knot—which I know you can—you'll get your picture in the paper and you'll be the biggest hero ever around here and nooo-body'll mess with you then.' (19.9)
This is why we'd sign up to have her as our best bud. It's got to feel good to know someone always has your back.
Look, we here at Shmoop like books. (Obviously). But Amanda loves books. She loves them so much that she carries around a suitcase full of them. These books give Amanda and Maniac common ground and spark their friendship.
But we have to ask: why does Amanda tote them around, really? Is she really afraid that Hester or Lester or Bow Wow will ruin them? Or do the books help her define herself in some other way?
Not just any girl (or boy) will hop into a buffalo pen, even if it's for a really important reason. The same single-minded determination that makes Amanda carry her whole library around in a suitcase to protect it also has her hopping that fence in her slippers. There's no one better suited to bring Maniac home. Listen to what she says:
'Don't tell me can't. I didn't come all the way out here in my nightshirt and my slippers and climb that fence and almost kill myself so I could hear you tell me can't!' (46.23)
Yeah, we'd go with her, too. And Maniac loves this kind of talk: "Maniac said nothing. He was quite content to let Amanda do the talking, for he knew that behind her grumbling was all that he had ever wanted" (46.27). What does he want? He wants someone to care enough about him to yell at him. And Amanda does.