Thursday, September 8, 2011

The Book Addict Reviews: I Am The Messenger by Markus Zusak

I am the Messenger
Genre: Young Adult, Social Situations, Mystery and Thrillers
Order Online:
Author Info:  Website | Goodreads
Rating: 4 stars
Bought this book.

In A Nutshell:
I bought this book on a whim.  I saw it at the store, I needed a new audiobook to listen to, I had heard so many wonderful things about Markus Zusak, so I decided to buy it.  And I am so glad that I did.  As soon as I was done, I wanted to read it again. 

This book is a little bit of a deviation from my normal reading material.  Ed Kennedy is 19 years old who has decided that living in a shack and working as a underaged cabbie is the most he will aspire to.  He is comfortable with his life, until cards with clues to people in the city who need help start arriving in the mail.  Then Ed finds he is the messenger--the person who needs to give these people the help they need.

Ed's voice is much more gritty than the books I usually read.  At the beginning of the story I struggled with Ed.  He had no drive to do anything more, to be anything more.  But Ed matures, he changes over the course of the book.  He makes an impact on the people the cards send him to, but those people also make an impact on him.  They need him. 

And Ed's family had never made that impact on him.  They have never needed him like that.  I think the person I struggled with the most was Ed's mother.  She was bordering on emotionally cruel to him, which was made all the more apparent when compared to how much she praised his brother and sisters.  I understand she was frustrated by his lack of ambition to leave or that he was like his father, but did she honestly think that berating him would help?  Did she really think it was fair to blame him for the broken promises his father made?

However, this book did not seem to be focused on fairness or equity.  This book seemed to be focused on making a positive impact on your life and the lives of those around you, regardless of your circumstances.  Sometimes, all a person needs to make their day a little better is a scoop of ice cream or a person to read Wuthering Heights with them.  And by being that person, Ed created a group of people who valued him, appreciated him, and wanted to have him around.  He found a family.

He also learned to better observe and notice what the people around him needed to be happy.  He began to look beyond the obvious to what people were hiding just below the surface.  And in looking deeper, he connected with even his oldest and closest friends in new and better ways.  He became a better friend. 

After reading this book, I had two distinct thoughts.  First, I have to sit down and read The Book Thief.  I have put that book off way too long!
The Book Thief 
Second, I had an uncontrollable desire to re-watch Pay It Forward, because the ideas in that movie compliment many of the ideas in this book. 
Pay It Forward

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