Friday, October 4, 2013

4: Follow-up Friday - I am the Messenger

One of the side benefits of discovering a great book is discovering an author.  After The Book Thief , I knew I had to read what else Markus Zusak had written.  I didn't jump right to it though.  Just kept his name in my mental to-read list.  I knew I'd have to be in the mood to tackle a potentially heavy read.  

Two years later, I was itching to read I Am the Messenger .    Though completely different in plot, setting and time period, the writing style and human insight were wonderfully Zusak.  One of my favorite things about him as a writer is that he never describes anyone in a positive manner.  Instead he broadcasts their flaws, almost revels in them.  His writing makes me realize how much I size people up by appearances.  When I read Zusak, I feel that begin to slip away.  It's beautiful when that happens.

Nineteen year old Ed Kennedy is our protagonist.  He's a cabbie who feels like a failure in every area of his life.  He's in love with his best friend Audrey, a self-destructive girl who wants anyone but someone who loves her, especially Ed.  His mom thinks he's a screw up.  His friends are going nowhere fast.  Even his dog reeks.


But one day Ed helps apprehend a bank robber and, shortly after, receives his first mysterious message, scribbled on a playing card.  Ed's desperate life takes an oddly heroic turn as he completes the vague instructions on the card.  He is the messenger.  Some tasks are bright.  Some are brutal.  All make you wonder who is behind the mysterious messages.  There are four cards in all.  The stakes get higher.  Ed's life gets more complicated.  And you won't be able to stop reading.

At first I could hear a little Holden Caufield in Ed Kennedy's voice.  Since I've always loved Holden, I was fine with that.   I found this sentence about his town, his mother, and Ugg boots particularly amusing, in a Salinger kind-of-way:

Soon, though, Holden faded and I was only aware of Ed, and his story.  There was a scene that really got me.  An Audrey scene.  I was always rooting for Ed.  After this, I had to close the cover and just feel Ed's pain until the next morning.

"You're my best friend, Ed."
You can kill a man with those words.
No gun.
No bullets.
Just words and a girl.

Just words and a girl <----  this is why reading is wonderful.  Moments like that.

There are parts that are raw and painful -- definitely not for everyone.  And my internal jury is still out on the ending.  But, overall, I Am the Messenger solidified my love for the author.  I already have Zusak's Underdogs series in my possession.  I can't wait to walk into their very flawed world.

Have you guys read any other Zusak work?  What do you think?  I'd love to hear some favorite sentences tossed around...

Click {here} to read Day 5: 
Sci-Fi Saturday - Starters



  1. I liked this book. Just liked. There were some intense parts, true, but I didn't love it like I did the Book Thief.

    1. No, I agree, hardly anything can be on par with The Book Thief. But I thought the writing itself was stellar. The story wasn't as epic, but it's hard to compare them.

  2. Loved I Am The Messenger! I think I liked it a little more than The Book Thief -- hard to say but I definitely like Markus Zusak!

    1. Awesome that you loved it even more than The Book Thief. Have you read Zusak's Underdogs series? I'm excited to start it soon... just wondered what you thought of it...

  3. I bet you never thought how easy it could be to hack into someones WhatsApp messages. Look at this article to see for yourself.


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