by Jerry Spinelli
Analysis: What's Up With the Ending?
Feeling a little guilty about taking your family/home for granted? We are too. How could we not, when Maniac Magee finally ends with Maniac simply content that "finally, truly, at long last, someone was calling him home" (46.27). After the miles and miles Maniac's seen-better-days sneakers chewed up, the book ends with him heading home to the place he's been looking for this whole time.
But it's not just a place, it's the people. He's not just headed home, he's being called (compelled?) home: "I am not asking you. I'm telling you" (46.23), Amanda Beale says. Someone is looking for him, wanting him at home, knowing something is missing because he's not there. And there you have it: after thousands of miles, a couple stays in wild animal enclosures, and quite a few butterscotch Krimpets, Maniac gets what he's been yearning for this whole time.