In Chapter 12 of Maniac Magee, what was Maniac not telling the truth about?

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dymatsuoka eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In Chapter 12, Maniac Magee is not telling the truth about where he lives. Maniac's parents are dead, and he has run away from the dysfuntional home of relatives with whom he had been placed. Essentially, Maniac does not have a home, but he is embarrassed to admit it.

The problem comes up when Maniac, who has spent the day at the Beales' house, is told gently by Mrs. Beale that it's about time for him to go home, because his parents will be worrying about him. Maniac does not know what to say, so he gets into the car without protest with Mr. Beale, who is going to drive him home. After Mr. Beale drives a little ways, Maniac says, "this is it," indicating a house a few blocks away, but Mr. Beale knows he is lying. The Beales live in the East End, where virtually all the residents are black, and Mr. Beale knows for a fact that the house to which Maniac has pointed is "filled with black people, just like every other house on up to Hector Street. When Mr. Beale points this out to his young white passenger, Maniac tells him the truth, that he doesn't really have a home. Mr. Beale does not hesitate upon learning this, and takes Maniac home to stay with his own family.