Wednesday, September 23, 2009

I am the Messenger by Markus Zusak

To the outside world, Ed is not much to look at. He is 19 (though his employer thinks he’s 20), unathletic, ambivalent, unmotivated, and drives a taxi for a living. He has three good friends (Marv, Richie, and Audrey) with whom he plays cards occasionally. He has one exceptionally smelly dog, The Doorman. His more successful siblings have all moved out of this tiny Australian town, leaving him to the very strained relationship he maintains with their mother. He works, he sleeps, and he drinks coffee with The Doorman. That’s about it…until the first ace arrives in his mailbox. Three addresses are written on the playing card. Four aces equal twelve mysteries and Ed will find the answer to his questions only after he visits each one.

This book, along with all Markus Zusak’s novels, is in our young adult collection but, for this one especially, I would recommend for mature readers only (language, sexual situations, violence, mature theme...does that sound too much like the MPAA?).

I have avowed since my first reading of this book that I would place an "I Love Ed Kennedy" bumper sticker on my car just to see who got the reference. A perfect blend of reality and magical realism, I am the Messenger is a feel-good book though the ending does seem a bit forced, like Zusak got all the way to the last couple of pages and just wasn't sure what to do with it. Until that point, I was mesmerized. The language is gorgeous, even the angry bits, and littered with Australian...lingo? Colloquialisms? Whatever the word is. There are beautiful turns on phrase like "their voices slammed and the door shouted shut". I'm pulling that from memory so please allow for mistakes :-) Anyway, imagine a virtual standing ovation sound effect overlaying this discussion and you'll have my opinion!


Lauren said...

I love Ed Kennedy!

We read this for my YA Lit class, and I really liked it. But yeah - I am always hesitant to pass it on to the YAs out there. :)

Unknown said...

Is it as good as The Book Thief?