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Maniac Magee by Jerry Spinelli was published in 1990. Maniac Magee is a young adult novel centered on the theme of homelessness and racism.
The main character, Jeffrey Lionel Magee, became an orphan at age three after his parents were killed in a tragic trolley accident. Thereafter he was sent to live with his Aunt Dot and Uncle Dan, who were strict, devoted Catholics who hated each other. At age eleven, Magee, tired of the tension in his relatives' household, runs away during a school musical.
After a year of running, Magee finds himself in Two Mills, Pennsylvania. Two Mills is divided into the East and West End and are separated by Hector Street. Here he is taken in by Beales, a black family, which causes the neighbors to quarrel because he is white.
To appease the neighbors, he leaves shortly afterwards and begins drifting from town to town. At the end of the novel, he moves back in with the Beales. His athletic feats and his untying of the infamous Cobble’s Knot help create peaceful coexistences between the two Ends in Two Mills.
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