Why does everyone call Jeffrey "Maniac" in the book Maniac Magee?  

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chadphares eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The title character in Jerry Spinelli's Maniac Magee is born Jeffrey Magee and lives roughly the first decade of his life being called Jeffrey. Upon coming to the town of Two Mills after leaving the home of his aunt and uncle, Magee accomplishes a series of significant athletic accomplishments that lead to him earning the nickname of Maniac.

One of the significant events occurs when Magee shows up on a football field and intercepts a pass intended for the super-talented James "Hands" Down. Another of the accomplishments occurs when Magee shows up at the Little League field and subsequently hits multiple home runs off of the previously "unhittable" John McNab. Lastly, Magee rescues a kid who is being bullied by high school students and dumped into the yard of Finsterwald—who everybody is afraid of, except for Magee.

With Magee's sudden and dramatic burst into the town of Two Mills, the nickname Maniac seems to be appropriate.