Review: I Am The Messenger.

Author: Markus Zusak
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers  
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary
Summary: 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? 

After I finished this novel I had to sit back because I was in awe at the mastery of the writing, the power of the message, the truth of such stories. This book has weaved it's way into my soul. I Am the Messenger captures the the dilemas I go through as a young person. Its depicted my frustration and insecurities and also my hopes and unfulfilled wants.

Once again his language is magic. The dialogue takes on the action of the predominant emotion. If he wants to reach for a friend, the words reach. And the way he breaks his sentences to evoke emotional pauses is poetic. Zusak has a perfect combination of length and pauseI. In a way, his writing transcends language.

Ed is a protagonist whom you come to care about within the first couple of pages, and whose story is deeply engrossing, emotionally engaging and also inspiring. As Ed submerges himself into these strangers' lives. He learns to care for them personally and insightfully discovers a message for them that will alter their lives. Sometimes the messages are easy to deliver, other times they require a lot of strength. The characters were also well-written. They had depth. At the beginning, there were some characters who I immediately labeled as flat and two-dimentional. As I progressed through the book, though, I realized I was wrong. Every character has their own problems and their own way of dealing with problems

Ed is an understandable, down-to-earth guy who we respect and want to do good. His friends, while not perfect role models, are supportive, funny, and real. The addresses hold many interesting people in store, and even though most of them aren't angels, they're at least honest.

The absolutely only thing that took away from the book at all was the ending. I thought it was rather rushed, and tied up a little too neatly. It was a little bit of a "huh? What just happened?" ending." I was never quite sure that I really understood who was sending Ed on these missions. Though I adored Ed's understanding that he isn't the messenger, but IS the message.
 I think there is a unique beauty in Zusak's story. Ed discovers the changing power in simple, personalized messages of love, even if they're ones he's forced to deliver. Ed's story is simple proof that if a guy like him can stand up and do what he did, then maybe everyone can. "Maybe everyone can live beyond what they're capable of." 

Zusak leaves us with our own challenge. We have to find our own names on an ace and we have to discover the real messege: that anyone, no matter how ordinary can be great.


Nomes said...

I love this review. just love it.

you articulated so well all that the legend that is zusac managed to do with this book.

also, i am ashamed to admit it, but i re-read the ending a few times and i still dont really get it? is it just me? other people seem secure in getting it all but no one has enlightened me...

and, how good is the first chapter? one of my fave first chapters ever!

Becca C. said...

I LOVE this book. One of my all-time absolute favourites - possibly even THE all-time favourite. But... I share your confusion about the ending. I love Ed's realization too, because it's so true, but the rest of it is really strange :/ oh well, I really don't think it could have happened any other way.