Thursday, November 7, 2013

Book Review : I Am Messenger by Markus Zusak

  • Release Date: October 1st 2002 (AUS) / May 2006 (US)
  • Pages: 357
  • Publisher: Random House (Knopf)
  • Genre: Realistic Fiction
Synopsis: 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.

I seem to be on a roll with these Australian books. This is the third one I've read after Finnikin of The Rock and Graffiti Moon. Originally published in 2002, I Am Messenger made its US debut in 2006, just a year before Zusack started climbing the bestseller's list with his runaway success The Book Thief.

19-year-old Ed Kennedy is complacent in his average life. He drives a taxi by day, lives in a cheaply rented shack with The Doorman, his dog and plays cards once a week with his friends. It all changes the day Ed stops a bank robbery. The next day the ace of diamonds arrives in his mailbox with three messages for Ed to deliver. One card at a time, Ed learns the difference one person can male.

I had a hard time getting into this book at first, but once it got rolling it was amazing. What could be a formulaic plot, turns into something deeply interesting as Ed sits at the lives of different people. Zusak is a phenomenal writer and I like his style in this book. Ed's first person narration has an awareness of the reader and there are times where he takes down the 4th wall, which isn't something  I've seen in a lot of books.  Zusak will also break words or sentences and into separate paragraphs and I like the flow it adds to the book. Like this section where Ed is sitting next to his crush, Audrey:

"Our feet dangle.
I watch them, and I watch the jeans on Audrey's legs.
We only sit there now.
Audrey and me.
And discomfort.
Squeezed in, between us.
She soon says, "You're my best friend, Ed."
"I know."
You can kill a man with those words.
No guns.
No bullets.
Just words and a girl."

Speaking of Audrey, the only thing I'm on the fence about in this book is the romance. Ed's love interest, Audrey is never developed to the extent that Ed's other friends are and they all have pretty equal page time. Her only characteristics are that boys like her (except for she and Ed's mutual  male friends oddly enough) and she is a cab driver. I just wish she had been developed a little more, she didn't even get a last name like everyone else.

My favorite part of this book has to be the experience of following along on Ed's journey.We are with him as he receives these mysterious cards, decodes the meaning of who the card refers to and  finds the right  way to help the people he meets.  

I Am Messenger is completely cerebral read, tinged with humor and a universally inspirational message


  1. LOVE this book. That is so true about Audrey, though- I never even realized that she's the only character without a last name.

  2. It's great isn't it ? I didn't realize that about Audrey either until I saw a character list online.

  3. I haven't read this one yet. But I hear ya with these Australian authors. I see you've just finished Finnikin. That's one of my favourites - one that I've read over and over again.

    That little snippet is enough enticement for me. :)


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