Mark's Reviews > I Am the Messenger

I Am the Messenger by Markus Zusak
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Dec 01, 10

bookshelves: mystery, literary
Read from November 15 to December 01, 2010

I was a huge fan of Zusak's most popular book, The Book Thief, but for some reason it just took me forever to pick this up and read. I now realized that was a terrible mistake as I Am the Messenger, while not on the level of supreme excellence as The Book Thief, is an amazing read that really hits you in the gut.

Ed Kennedy is a taxi driver who feels that his life on earth thus far is truly meaningless. But that's when the cards start coming and Ed is pushed to help complete strangers in ways they didn't even know they needed, and certainly in ways only Ed can provide.

The story is told in present tense, which I admire the heck out of because I can't do it. It really makes the narrative flow and never feel bogged down. This allows the story to really shine through and it is definitely a memorable one. I feel alot of books that try to do the whole "stranger who saves strangers broken lives" angle is one that is very easy to fall into the trap of cheesiness. But Zusak crafted Ed's role in such interesting and curious ways that it avoids this problem. Without spoiling anything, Ed's tactics and role feel much more realistic. He doesn't do anything that any normal person can't do, but just really understands the people he watches and gives them the nudge they need in the right direction, nothing more. But it's that nudge that makes all the difference.

This realism then really hits home with the book's ending, which plays with the fourth wall a bit and makes you sit for a second and think after you close the back cover. For me, that's what separates a 4 star from a 5 star review a lot of times. It's one thing to write an excellent story, but it's another to create something that connects and reaches out to a reader like I Am The Messenger does.

My only qualm, or rather confusion, lies with the book's classification. It was a Printz honor book, so that makes it YA. But I really never got a YA vibe from it at all. Felt much more like an adult. Ed and his friends are all 19-20ish, so their not kids. All their problems feel very adult for the most part. Where is the cut off? Meh, just random thoughts. Go read this book, it's awesome.
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