March 16, 2010
REVIEW: I Am the Messenger by Markus Zusak
Meet Ed Kennedy—underage cabdriver, pathetic cardplayer, and useless at romance. He lives in a shack with his coffee-addicted dog, the Doorman, and he’s hopelessly in love with his best friend, Audrey. His life is one of peaceful routine and incompetence, until he inadvertently stops a bank robbery. That’s when the first Ace arrives. That’s when Ed becomes the messenger. . . .
Chosen to care, he makes his way through town helping and hurting (when necessary), until only one question remains: Who’s behind Ed’s mission?
This was a very good book. I had no idea what to expect, so maybe that helped - it couldn't let me down! I found it one day browsing through a stack of books. The author sounded familar (yes he wrote The Book Thief), so I started the first chapter. I was hooked! I mean how could I not be - it starts out in the middle of a bank robber and the main character and his 3 friend start back talking to the robber! They actually try to get each other in trouble with the him- making comments back and forth. It was great! I was giggling to myself through the whole scene.
From that funny start you would think the rest of the book is nothing but silly - it's not. It has humor but it's a dark humor - I was laughing, but at the same time telling myself I shouldn't be! More it's the story of Ed coping with these mysterious missions he's being sent on. Each arrives via names or clues on a playing card. I felt for the guy because they weren't easy. The first one almost takes your breath away. I seriously didn't know how that one would turn out! Time and time again, though, he figures out what needs to be done - and does it. Watching the results were inspiring, and seeing Ed change was heartening. By the time the last card arrives you know Ed will succeed - even at what seems to be his most difficult tasks. These last tasks scare him. Failing at them would be far worse than failing at any of the others for they are closests to his heart. Through this part of the book I felt pulled forward into the last mission whether I wanted to be or not - just like Ed.
In the end I was satisfied with what I learned but still without all the answers. Just enough was left untold for me to have to think and work out for myself. The lessons Ed learned are still in my mind - sticking with me and making me look at life differently. But that's ok, after all, isn't that what a good book does?
Final thought: Great story about doing - not just being.
Best stick-with-you image: The description of how his dog, The Doorman, smells!
Best for ages: 15+ because of some mature language and scenes - and also because younger kids might not understand the meaning it's trying to convey.