Book Review: I Am The Messenger by Markus Zusak

24 Jan

I bought this book from the ‘new arrivals’ shelf thinking ‘heck, it’s markus zusak!’ and then realized that it was originally printed in 2002 and I had a reprint that just empathized Markus Zusak and that he wrote The Book Theif. Thank you, uneducated Barnes & Noble shelvers.

Protect the diamonds. Survive the clubs. Dig deep through the spades. Feel the hearts.

Nineteen-year-old cabbie Ed Kennedy has little in life to be proud of: his dad died of alcoholism, and he and his mom have few prospects for success. He has little to do except share a run-down shack with his faithful yet smelly dog, drive his taxi, and play cards and drink with his amiable yet similarly washed-up friends. Then, after he stops a bank robbery, Ed begins receiving anonymous messages marked in code on playing cards in the mail, and almost immediately his life begins to swerve off its beaten-down path. He completes task after task until only one question remains: who’s sending the messages?

Two words: Loved it.

I bet a lot of people are turned off by the blow-your-mind ending, and to them I say:

Wonderful writing. Great characters. Humor, and heart.

My mom read The Book Thief and thought the ambiguity at the ending was terrible, although she understood the point of it, so I’m not giving her this one. But I love stuff like that. It stays with me because it lets me think what I want, because as a writer, I have buckets of ideas.

But anyway.

The premise is interesting, as Ed, the main character, is set up to be worse than ordinary. His most meaningful relationships are with his dog and the girl he loves who doesn’t love him back. He’s got a best friend that he doesn’t really like, and doesn’t bother to know anything about.

And then, of course, Ed foils a back robbery for reasons he doesn’t understand.

There are so many spoilers here (well, just one that is so mixed up with the entire book that when you look back, you can understand so many things you hadn’t even realized didn’t make sense) that I can’t really go on.

So I’m going to end here and say that I hugely recommend this book. 4.5 out of 5 stars, because there were a few things I wished would have made more sense or had been done differently. But over all:

AWESOME. I now officially want to be an Australian author, because they’re all frickin’ awesome.



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