The Book Thief I decided to pick up the other well known book by Markus Zusak, I Am The Messenger. I knew that that it would be different than The Book Thief which is a historical fiction novel, but didn't quite realize how different it really was. I Am The Messenger is the story of ordinary underachiever Ed Kennedy, a nineteen year old cabdriver who lives with his dog, the Doorman, and spends most of his free time playing cards with his best friends who include the girl he's in love with, Audrey. When Ed helps stop a bank robbery, he has no plans to change his life, but then an Ace playing card arrives with three names on it and three people he has to help. Not knowing where the cards are coming from, Ed continues to decipher them anyway, but he can't help but wonder why he was chosen and who exactly is behind this all.
I listened to this on audiobook and I particularly enjoyed the narrator, Marc Aden Gray, who has a wonderful Australian accent. Before listening to this book I didn't realize Zusak himself was Australian, and I Am The Messenger takes place in Australia, which didn't cause any significant changes from my normal reading but it was still nice to read about a story set in a different location. The novel was really funny at times, and Ed's voice was very entertaining and made for a great narrator of the story. I found all of the characters believable, but my favourite was definitely the Doorman, Ed's coffee-addicted, smelly old dog who had a personality all his own.
Although I Am The Messenger is technically YA it definitely contains a lot of talk about sex and mature themes such as rape, alcoholism and violence which would probably make it inappropriate for young readers. The storyline of the novel is maintained by a mystery- who exactly is sending Ed the playing cards- which had a satisfying resolution, but was almost inconsequential to the story as a whole. The most important message behind I Am The Messenger is that anyone, even the most ordinary person like Ed Kennedy, can do something good, they just have to take action. It's not a book that will change your life and I didn't have a particularly emotional response to it, but I certainly enjoyed it. Overall, I Am The Messenger is an entertaining read which was not at all what I expected from Zusak but one I would certainly recommend to older teens as well as an adult audience since it never hurts to be reminded, as Ed puts it, that in doing good for another person we're really the privileged ones.
Release Date: January 1st, 2002
Pages: 357 (8 h 38 min)
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