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by Jerry Spinelli
Jeffrey Lionel "Maniac" Magee Timeline and Summary
Maniac is born in Bridgeport, to "regular" parents, but he's soon orphaned by a tragic trolley accident. After living for eight years with Uncle Dan and Aunt Dot, Maniac runs away and ends up in Two Mills, Pennsylvania. There, he meets Amanda Beale. She takes him home to her family, and they unofficially adopt him. The legend begins and grows: his sports prowess and cool confidence make him famous, and the fact that he's allergic to pizza doesn't hurt. Maniac finally realizes that not everyone loves him living in the East End when an old guy yells at him on the street and someone graffitis the Beales' house. In a desperate attempt to keep him from running off, Amanda convinces Maniac to take on Cobble's Knot. He wins, of course. An act of vandalism lets Maniac know that even the heroism of Cobble's Knot isn't enough to keep people from bothering him. So Maniac takes off again, and moves into the buffalo shed at the zoo. Maniac meets Grayson, park maintenance worker and washed-up minor leaguer. The two move in with each other with family when they most needed it. Grayson dies, leaving Maniac on his own again. Maniac takes off (again) and ends up cold and hopeless at Valley Forge, where he meets Russell and Piper McNab. To prevent them from running away to Mexico he escorts them home and begins a tumultuous period of living at the dirty and hateful McNab house. Maniac escapes from the stress of the McNab's by running: and soon he has a running buddy in his former nemesis Mars Bar. One day Mars and Maniac run into Piper McNab demanding they rescue his brother, stuck on the P&W trolley trestle. Maniac can't do it, so Mars takes care of the boys. Looks like three more people are going to be learning that racism is wrong! Mars later seeks out Maniac to check on him. Maniac refuses to go home with Mars, but later gives in when Amanda comes and demands he come home.