50 Book Challenge

Book #13: I Am the Messenger

Title: I Am the Messenger
Author: Markus Zusak
Number of Pages: 357

After the last few disappointing reads, I knew it was high time to get my hands wrapped around something that wouldn’t make me want to hurl it against the window after a few hours of reading. So I picked up I Am the Messenger, a book I have been putting off for years now for no apparent reason. Maybe it’s because the person who highly recommended it to me (who shall remain nameless) admitted that it made him cry during the last few chapters, and I had flashbacks to Zusak’s other favorite, The Book Thief, which had me red-eyed and sniffly during the entire last 50 pages. But much to my delight, I found myself enchanted immediately with the book within the first few chapters, and I read on, eager to find out what would happen next. Of course, my stomach did a few twists and turns as I thought about what could very well be a tearjerker ending. But after successfully not crying during the final Harry Potter movie last night, I decided today was the day to finish off this little young adult wonder, and I’m proud to say this: I did not cry. Although admittedly, my throat might have gotten a tad bit tight there near the finish line…

I Am the Messenger tells the story of Ed Kennedy, an ordinary, good-for-nothing taxi driver who spends his nights off drinking and playing card games with his friends and wishing hopelessly that his best friend Audrey will magically return the feelings of complete love and devotion that he has felt for her for years. His life promised to go on just like that, with little to break up the routine, until the day when he stops a bank robbery. And then a mysterious playing card with three names on it appears in the mail, and Ed finds himself on a mission to deliver “messages” to various people in the town. Sometimes the messages heal, sometimes they hurt, but one thing is ever present on Ed’s mind during them all: Who has chosen him to be the messenger, and where will he be forced to go next?

I’ll start off my quick review by saying this: Zusak is a brilliant writer. His style is so unusual, and his ideas so original, that his books always promise to be rewarding reads. One thing I like too is that his stories have a purpose–a moral, if you will. Not a hit-you-over-the-head kind of moral, but they leave you feeling inspired in some way. So many books today are written just to entertain, which is why Zusak’s books are so refreshing: not only are they fun to read, they also leave you thinking in the end. The characters in this book were so carefully drawn and the plot so mysterious that it makes this a book you want to get through quickly to find out what happens next.

Although I won’t give away anything here, I will say this: the ending still has me a bit puzzled. I read the final three chapters about three times over, and I’m still trying to figure some things out. Interestingly, this isn’t bothering me as much as I thought it would. Maybe because I think I already have it figured out–I just need to discuss it with someone else who’s read it to test my theory.

Anywho, it was nice to finish a book that actually left me satisfied. Y’all should check it out.

My Rating: 4.5 stars. I probably would have given it the full five, but it did have a lot of swearing and I’m still not sure about that ending. But I loved it.

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