In the novel, Manny becomes a member of the Callaway Projects gang. It is because of this gang, and specifically Eddie, a gang member, that he comes to his epiphany. After watching Eddie steal a purse from a woman he realizes that he isn't like Eddie at all. Unlike Eddie, he believes that all people should be treated with respect and fairness, and that he cares about others. He realizes that he doesn't belong in this gang and comes to understand his place at home with his family. This epiphany is a large step towards maturity for Manny.