Why does Amanda save Maniac from Mars Bar and his gang?

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I recommend starting to look for the answer to this question in chapter 10. Maniac has just escaped from McNab and his goons by running into the East End, but Maniac is hardly safe. Mars Bar confronts Maniac, and the scuffle that ensues leads to a page being torn out...

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I recommend starting to look for the answer to this question in chapter 10. Maniac has just escaped from McNab and his goons by running into the East End, but Maniac is hardly safe. Mars Bar confronts Maniac, and the scuffle that ensues leads to a page being torn out of the book that Amanda loaned to Maniac a bit earlier. Maniac isn't sure what to do about the book, so he begins to wander around. Mars confronts Maniac again, but this time he has backup.

"Hey, fishbelly!" He stopped, turned. This time Mars Bar wasn't alone. A handful of other kids trailed him down the sidewalk.

Fortunately for Maniac, Amanda shows up, and she immediately sees that her book has been defaced. She asks who tore her book, and Mars Bar tries to blame Maniac. Amanda doesn't believe it for a second.

Mars Bar pointed at Maniac. "He did."
Amanda knew better. "You ripped my book."
Mars Bar's eyes went big as headlights. "I did not!"
"You did. You lie."

Amanda is so enraged that Mars tore her book and one of her favorite pages that she starts kicking Mars Bar in his favorite shoes. She must be something fierce to watch because Mars Bar bolts out of there, and everybody laughs at his expense. I don't really believe that Amanda saves Maniac because she saw him in trouble. I believe that she confronted Mars Bar out of anger, and saving Maniac happened to be a fortuitous coincidence.

She grabbed the book and started kicking Mars Bar in his beloved sneakers. "I got a little brother and a little sister that crayon all over my books, and I got a dog that eats them and poops on them and that's
just inside my own family, and I'm not—gonna have nobody—else messin'—with my books! You understand?"

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Amanda rescues Maniac from Mars Bar for two main reasons. First, she already knows him from their earlier meeting, when she loaned him one of her books. During that meeting, Maniac showed excitement about Amanda's books, which are her most prized possessions. That shared excitement toward books made her trust Maniac enough to lend him a book. Although she wasn't sure what she should think about a white boy on the black side of town, she felt she could trust Maniac.

The second and main reason she rescues Maniac from Mars Bar is that Mars Bar tore the book she had loaned Maniac. While she interrupts the moment because she sees Maniac, she becomes angry when she notices a page has been torn out of her book. She knows Mars Bar tore the page, and she kicks him, saving Maniac—not just because she wants to save Maniac, but because she refuses to let anyone harm her books.

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