How old was Maniac Magee when he became an orphan?
In Jerry Spinelli’s book Maniac Magee, Jeffery Lionel Magee is orphaned at the age of three. While the child, who comes to be known as Maniac, is at home with a babysitter, his parents are killed in a high speed trolley accident. The trolley, which was being driven by a drunk trolley man, plunged off a bridge into a river in Pennsylvania.
After the accident, the child is sent to live with his aunt and uncle who are not happy to be saddled with his care. The two, who live in a loveless marriage, rarely speak to each other. Eight years after the accident, Maniac has endured enough and runs away from his relatives. He lives off the land for a year until he arrives in the segregated town of Two Mills where his reputation grows. The rest of the story chronicles Maniac’s new life.