Thursday, November 17, 2011

I Am the Messenger

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

My full name’s Ed Kennedy. I’m nineteen. I’m an underage cabdriver. I’m typical of many of the young men you see in this suburban outpost of the city – not a whole lot of prospects or possibility. That aside, I read more books than I should, and I’m decidedly crap at sex and doing my taxes. Nice to meet you.

After accidentally preventing a bank robber from escaping, Ed Kennedy receives his first playing card with three addresses written on it. He understands that he needs to deliver a message to each of these places, but the card offers no further instructions. Relying on his intuition alone, Ed starts touching people’s lives and trying to understand what he has to do. The messages vary from simple to horribly complex and painful, but they all have one thing in common: they need Ed to shake them up and save them from themselves.

I think the most wonderful thing about Zusak is the surprising humanity of his characters. Not only do they come alive for the reader, but they also take so many different roles in the process. Their simple acts of kindness often end up being impressive and life-changing. I’d noticed this about so many characters in The Book Thief and I feared it was a one-time deal, but Ed might be the best of them all. In complete contrast to the ending, Ed is one of the most real and tangible characters I’ve ever stumbled upon. The fact that he’s completely unaware of how extraordinary he is just adds to his charm. My only regret is that the same cannot be said about Audrey. I really needed her to be just as well developed, but she was the only one who didn’t feel real to me, and that’s the sole reason for my 4-star rating.

I Am the Messenger will make you happy in at least three ways: it will give you a truly authentic, approachable story that will go straight through your heart, it will make you examine the way you treat complete strangers and it will catch you completely off guard.
I wish I could hold up that knife and tear open the world. I’d slice it open and climb through to the next one.
In bed, I cling to that thought.

I suppose many people will not be comfortable with the ending. I thought it was unexpected, brilliant (like the man himself), mind-blowing (still picking up the pieces) and audacious. It didn’t take anything from the story, it didn’t diminish the importance of any of the characters, and it added an extra dose of memorability the book wouldn’t necessarily have otherwise.

Choosing a favorite quote this time was just like choosing a favorite child, but there was one I needed to share:
What would you do if you were me? Tell me. Please tell me! But you’re far from this. Your fingers turn the strangeness of these pages that somehow connect my life to yours. Your eyes are safe. The story is just another few hundred pages of your mind. For me, it’s here. It’s now. I have to go through with this, considering the cost at every turn. Nothing will ever be the same.


  1. Lovely review from a lovely lady. I think you are becoming a big fan of Mr. Zusak. Thanks for putting my button on your blog!

  2. Wow-this sounds really interesting! Great review.

    Lovely blog you've got here and thanks for stopping by TToria.
    Following :-)


  3. Thanks so much for the blog follow and that sweet comment! Made my day! I really enjoyed this review and will be adding 'I Am the Messenger' to my TBR. Following :D

  4. This review has me sitting here eyeing my own copy of I Am the Messenger even though there are other books that I really need to finish before starting this one.
    I love the quotes that you've chosen, they really highlight the beauty of MZ's writing and make me feel compelled to set all my holiday preparations and other books that I'm reading and start reading this one now.


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