How we cite our quotes:
"Mrs. Beale smiled. 'Yeah, I know you all right. You'll be nothing but Jeffrey in here. But—' she nodded to the door—'out there, I don't know.'" (14.25)
Isn't that what a family is, a place you can be your true self, no matter what happens out in the real world? Where Maniac can be Jeffrey, where Mars Bar can be … whatever his real name is?
"So she put a stop to it right then and there and slapped that trash-talking mouth. Her lip started to quiver before his, but before she could say 'I'm sorry,' he was hugging and squeezing her and burying his face in her chest and sobbing, 'I love you...I love you...'" (15.19)
Having lived without a family most of his life, Maniac has missed out on more than just warm cookies and milk after school. He's also missed out on the discipline that's most effective coming from those who love us. (And the special joys of groaning "MOOOOOOM," when she embarrasses you.)
"Maniac thought of Thanksgivings past, of sitting around a joyless table, his aunt and uncle as silent and lifeless as the mammoth bird they gnawed on...'And we want to thank you for this warm house and for our own little family here and for Grayson learning to read...And one more thing. If you could find some way to let the Beale family know I'm wishing them a happy Thanksgiving, I'd really appreciate it." (29.11)
Maniac is starting to get it: a family isn't about how big a house you have or how much is on the table, it's about who's around the table with you.