I Am the Messenger by Markus Zusak
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I Am the Messenger is an idiosyncratic, heartwarming novel that is, in most stores, marketed wrongly in the young adult section–this is a novel that should be read and cherished by adolescents and adults alike for its brilliance and quiet, universal lessons. Ed Kennedy is a young cabdriver with no real aspirations and a muted existence in his apartment with his loyal, omnivorous dog The Doorman and his few friends he plays cards with every now and then. After managing to stall a bank robbery by chance, he is sent the first card in the mail, an ace of diamonds, from an unknown benefactor. The card contains three addresses, three messages that he has to send. And thus, he becomes “the messenger,” and the reader is taken for a thrill ride through the Australian suburbs. Full of love, laughter, and ironic life lessons, I I Am the Messenger refuses to be put down after being picked up. Ed Kennedy’s wry voice serves as an excellently readable narrator for the story, and the reader also gets to see Ed develop as he experiences each message that he delivers in his own way. This book is highly recommended for readers of all genres and all ages teen and up. – Elisabeth S. ‘16
One thought on “I am the Messenger by Markus Zusak (review by Elisabeth S. 17)”
If not for the cover of the book, I never would have guessed that I Am the Messenger was written by Markus Zusak, who also wrote The Book Thief. For one thing, the narration of this novel is entirely different: the narrator is no longer a wide-eyed little girl learning the world for the first time, but a nineteen-year-old man, hopelessly ordinary and desperate in every way. With this shift in narration comes a loss of the innocence that made Liesel Meminger's story so enchanting — even though it seems odd that Nazi Germany could make a more innocent setting than the Australian suburbs.A few dredges of Zusak's voice are still around, especially his skill at crafting believable characters, but whereas his ambitious ending to The Book Thief was a rousing success, the conclusion to this novel was so hard to pull off that it fell flat. I Am the Messenger left me with the overall impression of having read a book of entertaining vignettes who are more satisfying alone than they are together. I can understand why Elisabeth S. enjoyed it, but I personally found it to be lacking in everything that made The Book Thief so successful.