Book Review #1: I Am the Messenger by Markus Zusak

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Today I finished the book I Am the Messenger” by Markus Zusak (357 pages) (author of “the Book Thief”. You can visit his personal blog here) . I’m still reeling. It’s as though my life can now be defined as “before the book” and “after the book”.

Sometimes people are beautiful.
Not in looks.
Not in what they say.
Just in what they are.

There are some books where you casually step into the character’s world, enjoy the journey with them, and then thank the character for their time before waving goodbye and moving on with your life, perhaps carrying with you some small thing that you learned or a particularly entertaining moment you liked.

This was no such book.

This book, this protagonist by the named of Ed Kennedy, casually stepped into my life, tucked me under his arm before guiding me on an amazing journey, and then thanked me for my time before waving goodbye, leaving me to wonder what I’m going to do next now that my perspective on life has been forever altered.

As you may have read in my introductory post, I’m a big fan of thrillers and science fiction, so the last thing you’d expect is for me to be raving about a realistic fiction novel. But I’d like to point out that I can appreciate philosophy, and the meaning of life, provided the writing is good and there is some sort of structured interest (meaning the events do not spontaneously happen most of the time, and there is some sort of end goal to all of this). This book surpassed this test. And yes, it’s really that good.

Well then, onto the review!

Ed Kennedy is ordinary. He’s nineteen, drives cabs for a living, and has no prospects or hopeful future of any kind. He lives alone with his smelly, coffee-drinking dog, the Doorman. He’s in love with his best friend, Audrey, though she refuses to love him back the same way. Change starts to happen when he accidentally ends up stopping a bank robbery. Shortly afterwards, Ed receives an ace of diamonds in the mail with three addresses written on it. He’s supposed to deliver messages to those people.

But what are the messages that need to be delivered? Why do those people need the messages? How will Ed deliver those messages? Who sent the ace of diamonds? But most importantly…

…why Ed?

I’d rather chase the sun than wait for it.

This book follows Ed’s adventures as the messenger, and how he ends up touching the lives of many residents in his town, all the while trying to figure out who is sending him these playing cards and why.

I liked this book for many reasons. First of all, the writing, more specifically, his diction, and the way he utilizes his spacing between passages and chapters, is utterly fantastic.

Secondly, the characters are marvelous. Ed Kennedy is relatable, and I liked his narrative voice. To me, it’s very important to hook the reader on the narrative voice you’re selling, as they’re going to be spending the entirety of the book with them, and if the reader doesn’t like the main narrator, they’re not likely to finish the book. Ed’s friends as well as the lives he touched throughout the book are the lifeblood of the story, and each and every one of them has something interesting and three-dimensional about them.

Also, there was structure to this book. It wasn’t some slice of life story, where characters bumbled onwards through their lives without rhyme or reason. Throughout the book, you wonder who sent Ed these cards, and why. Ed has encounters that give him clues (this is a generous description; most of the time you’re no closer to answers than you were before the event) as to what this is all about, and that provides interest for the reader as well as a promise to the reader that all will be revealed in the end, though that isn’t the main focus of the book.

Finally, this book changes your outlook on life. It gives it a new meaning. It gives you…a message. It’s hard to describe without launching into detail about the different messages that were given. All I can do is to read it and discover this for yourself.

I’d love to discuss the ending, but I feel as though it’s better left untouched. In my opinion, it was perfect.

To be honest, I cannot think of anything I disliked. Perhaps it’s because I’m still shell-shocked from its impact, or perhaps it’s because there simply isn’t anything for me to dislike.

Overall, I highly recommend this book, whatever your favorite genre. It’s adds something more to your life. You’ll forever remember the name Ed Kennedy.

To me, this book is pure magic.

If a guy like you can stand up and do what you did, then maybe everyone can. Maybe everyone can live beyond what they’re capable of.

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6 thoughts on “Book Review #1: I Am the Messenger by Markus Zusak

  1. I honestly thought I was reading a professionally run blog when I read this. It also showed me what my next book reviews should look like. besides how good it was setup, this blog also gives a great review of the book without spoiling anything. I cannot wait to read more of your reviews throughout this semester!

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