Sunday, September 18, 2011

Book Review: I am the Messenger

I am the Messenger by Markus Zusak
Average Rating on Goodreads: 4.06
Pages: 357
Awards: (various awards) including: 2003 Children's Book Council Book of the Year,  Bulletin Blue Ribbon Book (2006)
Okay now before I get into what I think of this book. Here's the summary available on goodreads.
Meet Ed Kennedy—underage cabdriver, pathetic cardplayer, and useless at romance. He lives in a shack with his coffee-addicted dog, the Doorman, and he’s hopelessly in love with his best friend, Audrey. His life is one of peaceful routine and incompetence, until he inadvertently stops a bank robbery. That’s when the first Ace arrives. That’s when Ed becomes the messenger. . . .

Chosen to care, he makes his way through town helping and hurting (when necessary), until only one question remains: Who’s behind Ed’s mission?

Winner of the 2003 Children’s Book Council Book of the Year Award in Australia, I Am the Messenger is a cryptic journey filled with laughter, fists, and love.

My rating: 4 out of 5 stars. I would most likely reread it.
My overall impressions:

Where to start? Markus Zusak’s I am the Messenger is one of those books that I read and throughout the entire 357 pages I continually thought: Do I like this book? What do I think of it?

I’ve come to the following conclusion: I am the Messenger is night-and-day different than The Book Thief, but the writing style is very similar and extremely compelling. I found the premise of this novel extremely interesting.
I am the messenger follows the story of 19 year old cab driver Ed Kennedy, who lied and said he was 20 to get the job, who stops a bank robbery and then is designated as “the messenger.” Ed must deliver the messages that will help those around him or forfeit his life.
A great premise…an intriguing idea…and a fascinating cast of characters. I already mentioned that I found this book compelling. While I was reading, I couldn’t decide if I liked it or not, but I’ve decided that I do.
1.   It’s an original idea. I haven’t read any other books that really reminded me of this one. Yes, I could come up with some abstract comparisons to Robin Hood, etc. That’s not the point though. The point is this book felt original.
2.   Once again the characters are relatable. On the surface, I have nothing in common with any of the characters, but if you look deeper there are characteristics in each of us that can be identified within the book.
3.   Ed is so not the hero type…but in this novel he’s the main character and in my opinion sort of a hero...albeit an atypical hero, but still a hero. I love that.
Some Memorable Quotes/lines:
(I chose ones that I liked and ones that I didn't think would give away the story.)
·         It’s funny how when you watch people from a long distance, it all seems voiceless. It’s like watching a silent movie. You guess what people say. You watch their mouths move and imagine the sounds of their feet hitting the ground. You wonder what they’re talking about and, even more so, what they might be thinking. ~pg 66
·         We only sit there now. Audrey and me. And discomfort. Squeezed in, between us. She soon says, “You’re my best friend, Ed.”
“I know.” You can kill a man with those words. No gun. No bullets. Just words and a girl. ~pg 120. (Love love love this one.)
·         “They also seem to know me unbelievably well—almost as well as I know myself.”
“Yeah, but,” Audrey begins, “who knows you real well, Ed?”
And that’s just it.
“No one,” I say. ~pg 140
·         It’s impeccable how brutal the truth can be at times. You can only admire it. ~pg 304

In summary: An interesting, original, compelling read.
There are a few references to having sex, but they are pretty vague and not graphic. They only happen on occasion and are never more than a paragraph. Not bad at all, but they are there. I wasn't offended at all, and if it does offend you, you can easily skip over it.

This book was an interesting read and one that I would recommend to anybody who wants a unique, original read.

Wrapping it up:
I enjoyed reading it. Plus it had a reference to Crime and Punishment and Audrey got to love it, right?

Danica Page

Next review: Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson. I've read it before and absolutely love it. Naturally, I'm super excited about this review.

Yes, it's depressing, but I love Anna Karenina and Crime and Punishment too so enough said.

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