Why doesn't Maniac Magee want to go to school in the book Maniac Magee?

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Jonathan Beutlich eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Right from the start of the story, readers are told that Maniac Magee doesn't go to school.  It's a well known enough fact that grade school girls have a chant about it.  

Ma-niac, Ma-niac

He's so cool.

Ma-niac, Ma-niac

Don't go to school.

Readers go through about half of the book knowing that Maniac doesn't attend school with all of the other kids, but don't find out why until chapter twenty-three.  Maniac and Grayson are talking, and Grayson asks Maniac why he doesn't attend school.  Maniac gets very defensive and never actually says a reason.  Maniac simply tells Grayson that if Grayson tries to make Maniac go to school, Maniac will run away again. While Grayson isn't privy to Maniac's logic, readers are.  Readers get to "listen" to Maniac's thoughts about school.  Essentially, school reminds Maniac of the fact that he doesn't have a home with a mother and a father.  He doesn't want to go to school and be "home" with a school family during the day if he can't go home to a family at...

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