I Am the Messenger
Author: Markus Zusak
Classification: YA Fiction, Contemporary
Would I recommend it?
Summary (from 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?
It's that good.
To give those that haven't read this book a better idea of just what the heck it's about, we'll start with the bank robbery.
Because even if the gunman is useless (and we all know it), this scene is incredibly funny and surprising, and it changes Ed's life forever.
Ed and his friends are caught in a bank while some idiot tries to rob the place. For some mysterious reason, Ed has the nerve to run after the gunman, pick up the gun he so clumsily dropped during his escape, and stops the bad guy before he can get away with the cash.
After that, Ed becomes a short-term celebrity, being recognized on the street by strangers as "that guy who stopped the bank robbery." Then, the first ace arrives in his mailbox. No name on the envelope, no postage, just a battered playing card, the ace of diamonds, with three addresses and times scrawled in pen on the face. After it becomes clear to Ed that the sender of the card is serious about him doing something with the ace, he begins to investigate.
What results from this situation is heartbreak, compassion, bravery, beauty and empathy. The journey that Ed takes is incredible, and we learn that even when we believe that we could never be better, that we could never just come out and tell the truth, that we could never leave our comfort zone, we have the potential to do great things every single day.
From the opening scene at the bank, just one of many hilarious situations, you are pulled into Ed Kennedy's world. I love the way that each of Ed's best friends, Marv, Ritchie, and Audrey, are given their own dimension. We see them through Ed's eyes. We observe them, we watch them struggle and grow, we watch Ed's perceptions of them change.
One of the most resonating messages in I Am The Messenger is that every person has some great need within them that they try to hide or avoid or work around like a giant pothole in your driveway. These needs are often most visible to those that know you best, like friends and family members, but most of the time, they are ignored. Never acknowledged or talked about, because they are difficult.
Although much of this novel is serious and compelling, the narrative is lightened by humor and the camaraderie between Ed and his friends. Ed as a main character is fantastic... he is richly drawn, a supremely regular person that becomes epic and unforgettable.
I Am The Messenger is a truly unique and memorable young adult novel that will leave its mark on every reader that follows the journey of Ed Kennedy. Please, please read this book!!
Would I recommend it?
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