I read this and remember thinking it wasn’t that good. But then, after I’d finished it, I Am the Messenger started to grow on me. In retrospect, it was fantastic, a five-star read. So naturally, I had to re-read, because the memory I had of Zusak’s writing didn’t match up with my current opinion.
In short, I like this book A LOT. I like it better than Zusak’s more popular novel, The Book Thief, and I like it a lot more after a second reading.
Beyond Zusak’s brilliant style itself, which I absolutely love to death, there’s the plot itself. Now, I do admit that it’s a bit incredible, that Ed is a bit unbelievable, but if you’re willing to go past that, the end result is amazing. The plot, the story, the characters, the humor—all perfect. I could gush for days.
Like The Book Thief, this book starts off a bit slow and is harder to get into. And like The Book Thief, there is a moment towards the end when you just fall into the book and lose yourself. But with I Am the Messenger, that lost feeling is stronger, you’re more into it, and when you get to the completely brilliant end scene, you don’t want the book to be over. I honestly got a funny feeling in my stomach for the last fifty pages or so, and I know that sounds corny, but I did.
Also, as I mentioned, there’s Zusak’s writing. Gorgeous imagery and personification out the wazoo. Great use of fragments and paragraph breaks. Yeah, I’m sold.
One of my favorite books, better after a second read, and definitely better than ever-popular The Book Thief.
The plot of this book is quite strange, but I really enjoyed reading the story. Ed Kennedy drives a cab to earn money, a job he got by lying about his age, and plays cards with his three best friends, Ritchie, Marv and Audrey. He loves Audrey, but she does not want to love anyone; she prefers meaningless physical relationships to the pain of loving someone and the fear of loss. At the beginning of the book, the three friends are all stuck in monotonous, accomplishment-free lives without any motivation to change. After Ed helps stop a bank robbery mostly by accident, his life begins to change with the arrival of a playing card in his mailbox. The ace of diamonds has a list of addresses and times written on it. He discovers that each one is a mission to fulfill. For his journey in the book to be complete, he has to complete the challenges on all the aces and the joker. Ed grows as an individual because of this experience and so do his friends; this strange incident gives them back some momentum and desire for improvement. The ending of the book was a bit weak; I might have preferred not to have a resolution than to have the joker section go the way it did. The book points to the power of the human spirit and suggests that even the most mundane of us have the power to change the world and help people in both small and large ways.
For some reason, every book I read by an Australian author is awesome. And this, my friends, was no exception.
It's weird. I love Ed, and most of the time while I was reading, I wished I was Audrey.
I definitely won’t forget this one. Brilliant.
The extraordinary is concieved and delivered, through a little bit of courage and faith, in the otherwise dull and mundane. This is the message in Mr. Zusak's sweet and enormously pleasurable tale of Ed Kennedy, a painfully average nice guy who is suddenly snatched from a life of lazy, self-centered repetition and thrust into an existance outside of himself. As Ed stumbles along in his journey, Mr. Zusak effortlessy invites the reader along as we, with Ed, experience new levels of understanding, tenderness, sacrifice and companionship. In I Am The Messenger, the author creates a fun enviornment that oozes with comfort and kindness, all welcomed feelings in this fully engaging and satisying novel.
I have NEVER loved nor hated a book so much in my life!
Ed Kennedy is a good-for-nothing, waste-of-space type of person. He spend his time driving for a taxis company and play cards with his friends. He isn't much until he single handledly stops a bank robber. He is painted a hero in the local newspapers. After the fifteen minuets of fame wears away he receives a playing card with addresses scrawled on them. All he knows is that he feels he must visit the addresses. The people who live at these addresses need some help. So Ed helps them. As he works his way through the people he becomes tied too a job, not one with a monetary pay, he is the messenger.
This book has hit me unlike any other book I have ever read. Its gripping and raw, impossible to put down. Ed is a rustic and real character, one that could really exist. He is an everyday hero. NO he's not supernatural or filled with paranormal powers but the boys go POWER!! The author really nails the setting, its believable creates the world that Ed exists in beautifully.
Ed faces each new card with unbelievable bravery, I know I couldn't summon that kind of power to do what he does. With every card Ed learns more than one ever thought possible. Ed has days when he fears his new-found calling and days when it brings him inexplicable joy, but with every card he helps somebody. He is learning to be, not just breath but live. He finds some direction in his lost world.
One thing that bothers Ed is that he can't figure out if the person sending the cards is good or bad...
Somebody is playing a cruel game with Ed and as he travels through the cards he struggles to figure out just who is sending him on this wild goose chase.
Explanation of why I love/hate this book:
*Ed is hero
*The message is strong and powerful about the inner power of what man (and women) can really do and what limits they can break through.
*You question who is messing with Ed till the end
* Now don't get me wrong but I don't like the language in this book. Far too much cursing for my likes but it goes with the setting and the characters so I guess the author felt that it was necessary.
Seriously this book is so powerful it should be read.
I thoroughly enjoyed reading I Am The Messenger. Markus Zusak demonstrates himself as a master of character development and creating a heavily layered plot. Zusak makes many interesting choices in his crafting of this novel and there are often times where the reader finds themselves making inferences about twists and foreshadowing that has been skillfully wrapped into the plot.
The use of cards and missions set forth for Zusak's protagonist, Ed Kennedy, keeps the reader gripped with the constant action in the novel. Each mission has its own mystery, climax, and resolution, making it nearly impossible to find a dull situation in the plot.
One of the greater appeals of this novel is the ability for the reader to identify with the protagonist. Ed Kennedy is presented as an everyday normal guy who under extraordinary circumstances rises above himself and accomplishes feats that other characters within the novel would not believe him to be capable of (excluding Audery).
SPOILER: Stop here if you have not read the novel, the rest of this review is a criticle take on Zusak's ending, it is revileing and only meant for those who have already read this book.
There has been some controversy surrounding the ending of the novel. The confusion lies within the narrative discourse, or focalization that Zusak chooses. Through all of the novel, except the ending Zusak uses a fixed interal focalization, focused on Ed Kennedy, the protagonist. As we meet the final character to be introduced something very strange happens. The true narrator is revieled to us. We see that though a fixed internal focalization was used, this character changes narrative discourse and jumbles the reader's mind because we see that this fixed internal focalization has been masking the true focalization, external focalization. The final character reviels himself as the author/narrative voice and upon doing so the novel abrubtly removes the mask of fixed internalization and bares the external focalization. The reader no longer gets to feel the thoughts of Ed Kennedy, we can only make an inference of his feelings or ideas based on the dialoge exchanged between him and this new character. Simply put the final character reviels himself as the author of the novel, leaving Ed Kennedy baffled and wondering if he is real. Like in all novels though, the characters are real, not real people, but real ideas. This is the point Zusak is trying to show his audience. The unraveling of this ending creates a dynamic in literature that is not often seen. We all know that a narrator can be a character within the novel, but Zusak tests the limits of conventions as he shows that the author of the novel can also, at times, be a character.
This was a beautiful idea for a book. As most of Zusak's book, it was written unquiqely (sp?). The only problem i had was the end, It seemed patched up, and roughly put together, as if to finish quickly. The end was a dissapointment in comparison to the rest of the book/
I must say, this book captured me right from the start. I listened to
it on audiobook, which definitely made me blush in the car when the
sexual thoughts and scenes came through, windows rolled down and me
avoiding other drivers' eyes. I loved the actor's voice and managed,
for once, to listen to the whole thing on audio (part of it being I
didn't have a book copy). I don't know about you, but listening to
books is a great motivator for hand-washing dishes and cleaning around
The book starts out with a bank robbery. Two friends,
both male, are at the bank and the robber manages to get away with the
money, but finds himself without a ride (his ride was getting talked to
by the cops and then drove away) and so he points to one of the friends
and tells him to give him his keys. The attitude of the character just
makes it very hard not to laugh. He's got a cheap old car that rarely
starts. Alas, he gives the keys over. The robber drops the gun on the
way out, but decides to just take off. Our main character, Ed, grabs
the gun and runs after the guy. Saves the day basically.
if that doesn't draw you into a story - the banter taking place
definitely will. Ed continues on and one day gets a playing card with
an address on it. He's been asked to give a message and this continues
on. He's not sure where the cards are coming from, but when two
gentleman come and rough him up (thanks to him being slow to figure out
one or two of the messages) he gets the picture that someone is behind
it. I don't think I'm explaining this book real well so far.
basically what happens - Ed has to find these people, figure out what
they need, and give it to them. A range of things happen - he gets
beaten the crap out of, he almost kills a man, and he has to pretend to
be an old woman's dead husband. And much, much more. The mystery behind
who is sending these addresses takes a side line while you cruise
through the life of Ed Kennedy - 20 something year old taxi-driver,
girlfriend deficient and with quite an attitude about life that is
I just ate this book right up. I wanted to scrub for
days or drive around just so I could listen to the accented voice that
matched up perfectly what I drew up in my head about the main
character. The plot was fantastic, the characters interesting and well,
the ending was bloody well perfect. But you'll have to read it yourself
to figure that last part out.
Wow! This book was amazing! I listened to it on CD, and every day I wished I had a longer commute so I could hear a little more! Markus Zusak is a master of metaphor and personification; his words never seemed cliche or ordinary even when describing the most mundane circumstances.
One warning: Despite being marketed as a YA book, there is very little about this book (other than the protagonist being 19) that is YA. The language, violence, and frank talk about sex is definitely not to be recommended for immature readers.
However, if you can see the big picture, you'll be rewarded with a redemptive ending unlike any other. I'm excited to read the rest of Zusak's books!