After reading The Book Thief, I suddenly couldn’t get enough of Markus Zusak, so I bought another one of his works, I Am the Messenger. Here’s the plot description from the back cover of the book:
Ed Kennedy is an underage cabdriver without much of a future. He’s pathetic at playing cards, hopelessly in love with his best friend, Audrey, and utterly devoted to his coffee-drinking dog, the Doorman. His life is one of peaceful routine and incompetence until he inadvertently stops a bank robbery.
That’s when the first ace arrives in the mail.
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?
Who would’ve thought that a nineteen-year-old guy would save the day which changes everything that will happen in his life afterwards? That’s Ed Kennedy for you. After the bank robbery incident, he receives one card at a time with a message written on it and it’s up to him to decipher what the card is telling him to do, and more importantly figure out why he’s been chosen by the sender to do these things. This book may be about Ed, but reading this feels like readers are also involved in the story – contemplating, questioning, and reflecting just like Ed does: What’s the purpose of the cards in his life? What’s in it for him? All these questions raised during the story will be answered towards the end of the book. True enough, this book has so much to offer than merely a work of fiction. It’s both realistic and relatable to the readers.
Ed, being the protagonist of the book, has the most complex characterization. He may just be an underage cabdriver who’s living a mediocre life, but there’s something more to him than that. He possesses great amount of patience and always reacts to situations so calmly. I deem him as someone who’s intelligent and heroic in the simplest way possible. The questions he asks about his surroundings also have philosophical depth in it. Even I have to stop, ponder, and reflect upon what Ed has said. I won’t deny the fact that how Ed handles the situations to send out a message can actually be applied in real life.
Cards are considered to be objects of entertainment. While this is shown in the book, Markus Zusak also transforms it into something more. They have turned out to be significant in Ed’s life. The people he meets become a part of his life just as he is to them. And the messages written on the cards definitely expose him to the bigger world which eventually influences his level of maturity as well as his view in life. I’m actually amazed by how Ed manages to know what he needs to do in every message. It’s like the solutions come out naturally from him. I wouldn’t have been able to do what he thought of.
Moving on, of all Ed’s messages, what appeals to me the most is the part where I get to discover the deeper side of Marv’s life. What Marv has gone through is inevitable, especially in today’s society. And it’s rare to meet someone with the same level of determination as Marv’s. Plus, the way he courageously confronts Suzanne’s father is epic! I doubt all people who are in his shoes will act the way Marv did.
I truly enjoy this book. Markus Zusak’s writing style has once again kept me turning the pages as the story is filled with suspense and mystery with a mixture of humor here and there. I just love how the author makes the Doorman participate in the story despite being a minor pet character. I always have a soft spot for dogs and I admire Ed’s relationship with the Doorman.
This uniquely written book has certainly made an impact on me, just as much as how The Book Thief deeply touched my heart. All I can say is that books like these should never be left unread or ignored by people. Overall, I Am the Messenger is another impressive work by Markus Zusak. I could never ask for a better ending. And I can proudly say that I have now fallen in love with his works. Another job well done. I don’t think I would ever get tired reading Markus Zusak’s books.
So with that said, I would like to end this post with a quote taken from the book:
“If a guy like you can stand up and do what you did for all those people, well, maybe everyone can. Maybe everyone can live beyond what they’re capable of.”