Post by Mark T. Locker.
I am the Messenger by Markus Zusak.
Sometimes, the book you are after is unavailable so you grab whatever would be next to it on the shelf, just because. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak is a critically-acclaimed, award-winning novel that was also made into a movie. I don’t know what it’s about because it was not available. What was available, however, was a novel he wrote a few years earlier called I am the Messenger. It was a Printz Honor book which means it should probably not be terrible. I borrowed it.
I am the Messenger is an unusual story of a young Australian named Ed Kennedy, an 19-year-old who drives a cab and in his free time hangs out with his friends playing cards and drinking beer, or drinking coffee with his dog named The Doorman. But all that changes after Ed accidentally foils a bank robbery. For a little while he is hailed as a hero. After things quiet down, he anonymously receives a playing card in the mail, the Ace of Diamonds. On the back are a list of addresses and times. Ed realizes that he is being placed in the middle of peoples’ lives as a messenger. Each time he fulfills the tasks, which he must figure out on his own, he receives another card in the mail.
There is a woman who is abused by her husband. There is an old woman who is lonely. There is a young girl who is strong but lacks confidence.
In the process of fulfilling these tasks, Ed finds new meaning for his own life. Instead of muddling through the days, he discovers that he can affect other peoples’ lives in positive ways. Something as little as buying an ice cream for somebody can have a powerful effect.
What makes the book work is the narrator, Ed. He’s cheeky and funny but also has a secret poetic side and can be disarmingly insightful at times. A truly interesting read for teens and adults about how sometimes you need a kick in the pants to move you in the right direction.