Family: you can't live with them, and you really can't live without them. Maniac Magee is a love letter to families. Jeffrey Lionel becomes Maniac because he lacks a family, and throughout the book Maniac is searching for a family. But he's not just searching for a physical family; he's also looking for what family means. Do they have to be related to each other? Have the same color skin? Live in the same house? By trying different families on for size, he's eventually able to answer these questions—at least for himself. Here's the real question: do you agree?
Staying with the awful McNabs is necessary for Maniac to figure out what family is and the work required by an individual to maintain it.
Maniac might not ever stay in one place permanently, because he's found not one but several families.