on December 5, 2013
So, huge spoiler alert. Whoop, whoop, whoop! Whoop, whoop, whoop! Spoiler alert! You know, I read this book because I read "The Book Thief" first. Did I like "The Book Thief"? Yeah, I did. Did I like this book better? Oh, yeah. Much better. Why did I like this book better? You know, I wouldn't have been able to tell you unless you've read both books. Having read "The Book Thief", do I want to see the movie? Well, kinda--only to see how the star-studded cast can bring the beautifully written story to screen. When I read that the movie doesn't address the two books that Max writes for Liesel, the major turning, revolving, focusing points of the novel, I immediately swore off seeing the movie. Then I read that Geoffrey Rush and Emily Watson were casted ... and so, am in conflict.
I appreciate a writer who leaves much of the ending of a story to my mind, so that I can create and develop the pictures and plots in my mind. In "The Book Thief", we have Death playing a speaking role--almost to the point of where I felt, as a reader, that I was beaten over the head with the fact that Death was in the forefront and taking an active role. Yes, yes, Death. Okay, gotcha, let's move along. I was also confounded, or conflicted, when there were these sections of airy prose--not prose, yeah prose--thrown into the mix BIG and BOLD and COMMANDING. I didn't know the source. Maybe I was just stupid, or had too much too drink. It wasn't revealed until whatever chapter that it was our Ms. Liesel who was writing these BIG and BOLD and COMMANDING passages. Wow, when I understood this--like I said, I might have been behind all cheering on Death for narrating and cleverly leading us down a path where Ms. Liesel would taking the jumping off point. Whew! Boy, howdy. When I had that realization, the novel completely opened up and I read it again from the beginning so I could absorb, and intrinsically know, breathe even, the essence of Ms. Liesel. Then the novel was, holy cow, for teens? Pfft. For everyone. Period.
Okay, so where was I? Oh, yeah, this book. I think when one reads that the English version of this novel is titled "I Am the Messenger" but in other languages the novel is titled "The Message". I think that if you view the novel through the looking-glass of the novel as "The Message" rather than "I Am the Messenger" I might persuade you to see/read the novel my way. In this novel, the protagonist--Christ on a cracker. Sorry, let me just be me.
In this novel, our wanna-be hero, Ed, is living a bland and bleak life: SSDD, in other words, and I apologize I offend with my language: Same Shit, Different Day. He isn't living live, he is simply existing--that is, until he finds himself as a potential hostage in a bank robbery and steps outside *cringes from the overused reference* his box and well, saves the day. He then is the recipient of a playing card with a task. Okay, folk. So those of you who were "surprised" by the ending? Who in the heck did you think were sending the cards? To make a long story short, Ed learns it's the little things, sometimes the odd things, the different ways of connecting and validating folk for who they are in their world and sorting through the flotsam and jetsam of "Hi, how are you?" and "Nice day, isn't it?". In other words he takes a stand and does that which he believes is right for him and his heart; just right for who-he-is-right-now-and-crap-to-all-the-rest.
So then, to the ending that a bunch o' folk didn't like, but I did. Okay, so who is a big fan of SF out there, anybody? Christ, doesn't anyone "do" metaphors anymore, or is it just me? Ed is visited by this little guy; a youngin' whom I see as, seasonally appropriate and for lack of a better term, the ghost of Christmas past. The little guy ain't Ed, but he's an apparition of a kinda' Ed, of a youngish' Ed, or *gasp* could it be the devil appearing in a form that is likable and unoffensive to our *snicker* Mr. Ed reminding him of the difference of who he was then and who is is now? I have a quote, but can't reach it as my Kindle is in the other room, and I have a Chocolate Labrador named Luna lying on my feet impeding my progress whilst begging for treats.
I'm paraphrasing thanks to Luna: the little guy holds a mirror up to Ed and asks him if he is "looking at a dead man now?" And Ed, in a whisper, in a flood, sees all "those places and people again" (my husband called Luna out for treats so I was able to rescue my Kindle).
Not to be a smart-ass, because, well, I am one, who can't see from the obvious writing and the mysterious little guy holding a mirror up to our protagonist asking him to reflect upon his life, can't see the obvious that the little guy is and/or could be Mephistopheles. Not that Ed every actively and/or overtly wished for a change of life through the devil; I think it was understated and pretty darn clear through the writing. Oh, that and I totally loved when Ed told off his mom and said something like, "It doesn't matter who I am there, it matter who I am and the changes that I make here." Again, paraphrasing as Luna has once again settled on my feet and my Kindle is far, far away.
Again, I could be wrong. Call me odd, loved the book, the ending, and must give props to the writer for following a life-long dream of published author.