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litteacher8 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The main purpose of the story is to entertain.  It is children’s or young adult fiction, and it is written in order to keep the reader interested in reading.  At the same time, the book also intends to raise serious questions in the reader.  Among the playful fantasy there is a touch of reality.  The boy is homeless, and his parents are dead.  The story asks the reader to relate to Maniac and try to understand how homelessness affects a person and a community. 

There are also racial issues.  Maniac is white, so he cannot stay with the black family that cares about him.  There is also a constant look at the effects of poverty, both on Maniac and on the people who take care of him.