I Am The Messenger

Go buy this book.

Ok, now that that’s out of the way, I can start talking about other things and exactly why you should go buy this book.  To begin, I first heard of Markus Zusak because of several recommendations for The Book Thief (which is another fantastic book) on blogs over the course of several months.  Last week as I was wandering through Barnes & Noble, I found this book and decided to buy it, I’m very glad I did.  On with the full review.

Book Stats

357 pages

Stand Alone

My catch-all Drama category

Characters

The book is told from the point of view of Ed Kennedy, a 19 year old living in a small town (I don’t think it ever actually says where the town is, but Zusak is from Australia so I always assumed the town is also in Australia) and working as a cab driver.  He has no real ambition in his life and is really kind of a loser to start the book.  He doesn’t have any goals in life and is really just sort of going through the motions.  He was well written as a character and I enjoyed reading about him throughout the book.

Setting

A small town, it doesn’t really matter where it is.

Plot

The book starts with Ed and his friends laying on the ground in a bank as the bank is being robbed.  As they start to argue they get the attention of the bank robber, and ultimately end up helping to catch him.  Shortly after this happens, Ed receives an envelope with an Ace of Diamonds in the mail, the Ace has three addresses and times listed on it.  Curious, Ed goes to the different places at the appointed times and sees different people who all have problems.  Ultimately he decides that he is going to help them with their problems and sets off to do so.  After he finishes the first three he receives another card in the mail (as well as a beating from other people who are following random directions just like he is).

Enjoyment

This book is brilliant.  Zusak does a wonderful job of showing a myriad of things that happen all over the world every day.  So many of the situations that these people find themselves in would be easily fixed if someone, anyone simply took the time to help someone else.  Ed goes through the book and helps a young girl find herself and her own kind of beauty, he helps a struggling family to feel welcome in a new town, he helps two brothers to realize that they have more in common than they realize and they actually care about one another, and he helps his closest friends to overcome their biggest problems.  He never does anything that each of us in our own lives couldn’t do, he just actually takes the time to stop and watch and realize how he can help someone.  The very end of the book fell a little flat for me as it seemed like Zusak was really just trying to hammer home the theme of the entire book, but it doesn’t take away from the fact that getting through the book was absolutely brilliant.

Overall Grade

Zusak is a wonderful writer, and this book is beautifully written with a wonderful theme.  To repeat what I started this post with, go buy the book now.

10/10

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9 Comments

  1. Thanks for this Adam! I really enjoyed The Book Thief and was a little weary about reading anymore of Zusak’s books in case they didn’t live up to my expectations but with your recommendation I will definitely add this one to the list.

    Reply
  2. hannahrose42

     /  December 6, 2011

    The Book Thief was pretty low on my reading list, but now I may have to move it up… This book also sounds intriguing, I will check the library to see if they’ve got in on hand.

    Reply
  3. That is a pretty interesting book. I also read that after reading The Book Thief, which is a fantastic book. I think Zusak is a very imaginative writer…though his themes are a bit cliche. Still, his books are very entertaining to read.

    Reply
    • The only time that the theme of this book didn’t work for me was the very end section. I don’t think the last part needed to be there for the purpose of the overall story and it really felt tacked on just to really hammer the theme home. Other than the end section, I really enjoyed the theme. Just because a theme is something we’ve seen before doesn’t mean that it can’t be well done, and in this book I thought it was brilliantly executed.

      Reply
      • Yes, I was also referring to the ending. That’s exactly my point…he can take themes and topics that have been written about so many times, and turn it into something unique and original.

  4. I really enjoyed The Book Thief. I’ll have to check this one out too!

    Reply
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