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I Am the Messenger Paperback – May 9, 2006
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“Funny and gripping.” —The Miami Herald
“Both serious and funny, touching and exciting.” —The Salt Lake Tribune
“Fresh and thought-provoking.” —The Grand Rapids Press
“Raucous, poignant, and at times laugh-out-loud funny.” —BookPage
“Compulsively readable.” —Publishers Weekly, Starred
“Unpretentious, well conceived, and appropriately raw.” —School Library Journal, Starred
“Zusak outdoes himself here.” —The Bulletin, Starred
“Zusak succeeds brilliantly.” —Booklist, Starred
“Funny, engrossing, and suspenseful.” —KLIATT, Starred
From the Inside Flap
Meet Ed Kennedy--underage cabdriver, pathetic cardplayer, and useless at romance. He lives in a shack with his coffee-addicted dog, the Doorman, and he's hopelessly in love with his best friend, Audrey. His life is one of peaceful routine and incompetence, until he inadvertently stops a bank robbery. That's when the first Ace arrives. 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?
Winner of the 2003 Children's Book Council Book of the Year Award in Australia, I Am the Messenger is a cryptic journey filled with laughter, fists, and love.
"From the Hardcover edition.
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> "Why me?" I ask God. God says nothing. I laugh, and the stars watch. It's good to be alive.
The author was obviously influenced by Catcher in the Rye. The protagonist of the story is an anti-hero with seemingly mediocre mental resources and ambition. He has a similar lack of responsibility towards money, and also seeks love from an apparently average sort of woman.
> It makes me look deeper into the street, trying to find the future events in store. I'm happy.
The author uses the lyrical technique of having the story progress with a mysterious list. Much like And Then There Were None or Atlas Shrugged, a list appears without an obvious purpose, and the protagonist's adventure is to proceed through this list. And like Catcher in the Rye, we watch the protagonist's character grow as he proceeds through the adventure.
> I didn't know that words could be so heavy.
All of the above is extremely fun, and would have satisfied exactly what I was looking for. But then there's the "more." The author is able to interweave lyrical prose into his colloquial speech. Like a droplet of watercolor crashing into a glass of clean water, these moments of poetry bring extreme beauty to an otherwise simple appearance.
> This isn't about words. It's about glowing lights and small things that are big.
And then there's more beyond that. We find that through the character's growth, his mental faculties become stronger than we had thought. In the most believable and common way, he demonstrates cleverness. And then, like The Things They Carried, the reader can begin to wonder whether this is a story at all. Is this a book, or a letter, or something else?
> I want words at my funeral. But I guess that means you need life in your life.
I'm being purposefully vague. I worry that I've already revealed too much. In my life, I've come to realize that competence is unusual. Most people seem to stumble through life with the goal of minimal effort. Competence is so unusual that I celebrate it. In those rarest of occasions, I get to interact with something more than competence: excellence. I Am Messenger is one of those experiences. I hope that I get to meet Markus Zusak (the author) someday; I'd like to give him a hug.
> When the job's done, he smacks me on the shoulder and we run off like handsome thieves. We both laugh and run, and the moment is so thick around me that I feel like dropping into it to let it carry me. I love the laughter of this night. Our footsteps run, and I don't want them to end. I want to run and laugh and feel like this forever. I want to avoid any awkward moment when the realness of reality sticks its fork into our flesh, leaving us standing there, together. I want to stay here, in this moment, and never go to other places, where we don't know what to say or what to do. For now, just let us run. We run straight through the laughter of the night.
While “The Book Thief” received the accolades that it richly deserved, so, too, should this novel be recognized for what it is; a book with deep and profound meaning. The author, while hoping to have a young adult learn from its contents, the novel is, likewise, meant for all of us. When we are faced with a challenge do we have a tendency to do the ‘easy thing’? Or do we, like our protagonist, attempt the hardest and most onerous action? For only then can we expect ourselves to grow and to understand those who are around us. Only then can we retire each night and say, quite honestly, I gave today all I had to give.
In our data-filled and confusing world have we become overwhelmed with mere survival and/or the constant repetition of daily tasks or have we spent the time to come to deeply know ourselves? We can never know our limitations until we have attempted to exceed them. We can never truly define who we are unless all options are acted upon. Let us not only become the messenger that is carried to others, but let us become the message and the role model for others to follow.................
Ed Kennedy is an unmotivated slacker who drives a cab. He hangs with his (rather loser-y) friends, and is in the throes of unrequited love for Audrey, his best friend. One day he manages to catch an inept bank robber, and now he's a “hero”. And he immediately receives a playing card in the mail—an ace of diamonds. Three addresses are written on it. Ed has been chosen, and he is required to help these people. He's not sure who's “requiring” him to do this (but at one point when he wavers, some guys show up to get physical with him to guarantee he does the job!), and he's never told what help he's supposed to give. He has to figure it out.
Each person he helps becomes a tiny “storylet” that all add together to make up the main storyline of Ed's journey. It is Ed's very “unheroicness” that makes him such a touching hero. All the people he helps, without being the least bit sentimental, completely warm your heart.
This is just one of those books that touch you, and it's a feel-good story for sure. When you finish it, you will put it down with a sigh, and think “What a GOOD book!”