Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Review: I Am the Messenger, by Markus Zusak

I Am the Messenger

Title: I Am the Messenger
Author: Markus Zusak
Genre: Mystery
Pub. Date: May 9, 2006

protect the diamonds
survive the clubs
dig deep through the spades
feel the hearts

Ed Kennedy is an underage cabdriver without much of a future. He's pathetic at playing cards, hopelessly in love with his best friend, Audrey, and utterly devoted to his coffee-drinking dog, the Doorman. His life is one of peaceful routine and incompetence until he inadvertently stops a bank robbery.

That's when the first ace arrives in the mail.

That's when Ed becomes the messenger.

Chosen to care, he makes his way through town helping and hurting (when necessary) until only one question remains: Who's behind Ed's mission?

Upon reading and completing The Book Thief, I somehow knew, without trace of uncertainty or doubt, that Markus Zusak is a literary genius.

Only he could have such unmistakable and beautiful prose.

Only he could create such perfectly written characters.

Only he knows how to captivate his audience and manipulate their feelings to this extent.

I bought this book almost compulsively, not knowing a thing about the story and going in completely blind. While not a tearjerker like The Book Thief, I Am the Messenger is magnificent in its own right. Even comparing the two books feels wrong, because they are much too different.

"What would you do if you were me? Tell me. Please tell me!
But you’re far from this. Your fingers turn the strangeness of these pages that somehow connect my life to yours. Your eyes are safe. The story is just another few hundred pages of your mind. For me, it’s here. It’s now. I have to go through this, considering the cost at every turn. Nothing will be the same."

Zusak gives us a generous amount of humorous dialogue to lighten up some of the more serious moments. Like a friend of mine put it, a tragicomedy.

Ed Kennedy is the main character of this book, a 19-year-old tax-driver. He’s a bit of a failure in life, both by his and others’ standards. Nonetheless, I enjoyed have him as a narrator. Something about the way he looks at life in general is so unique. His commentary on everyday happenings and people is downright hilarious. Like I said, one of the best narrators I've ever had the pleasure to read about, and somehow made the novel a million times more entertaining.

"Have you ever noticed that idiots have a lot of friends?
It’s just an observation.”

Ed’s best friend and my favorite character, Marv, is an arrogant taxi-driver who is overly fond of his beat-up car. He comes across as a jerk at the beginning of the book, but by the end, you will love him.

Most of all, it was the simple things that made me love this story in all of its greatness. Things like…

A coffee drinking dog.
A swearing priest.
Barefoot soccer.
Morning runs.
Christmas lights.
A pathetic criminal.

Sometimes, I did find myself tearing up in the midst of laughing, due to the sheer beauty of some of the moments. These moments were very touching, and like every good book does, inspired me to try to be a better person.

The ending. Oh, the ending. I’m not lying nor exaggerating when I say that Zusak is a genius. It took a while for my mind to comprehend it, but when I understood, I was MIND. BLOWN.

I am supremely and eternally grateful for picking up this book. I know for a fact that this book will not leave me anytime soon.

“Sometimes people are beautiful.
Not in looks.
Not in what they say.
Just in what they are.”


  1. Sorry for the briefness of this comment (I'm abroad at the moment) but I totally agree. I just read this and LOVED it!

    1. Hahah it's okay (hope you have fun!). Always glad to meet fellow fans of I Am the Messenger! :)

  2. I have to check out this book! It's sad because it's always sold-out in my bookstore. :(