‘I am the Messenger’ by Markus Zusak

‘Bob Dylan was on the brink of stardom when he was nineteen.Salvador Dali was well on his way to being a genius and Joan of Arc was burned at the stake for being the most important woman in history. And at nineteen Ed Kennedy found that first card in the mail.

When Ed Kennedy accidentally stops a bank robbery he never imagined that his aimless life was going to turn upside down.

Ed Kennedy is a 19 -year old underage cab driver whose almost insignificant life revolves around, his three friends -the argumentative Marv, lazy and jobless Ritchie and Audrey with whom Ed is hopelessly in love with, his 17 year old dog Doorman who loves drinking coffee and card games at which Ed looses every single time. So when he stops the bank robbery and lands the robber in prison he thinks that it will end in a morning newspapers headline but that’s when he receives the first card -an ace of diamonds with three addresses. With the three addresses comes the three messages he has to deliver and he becomes the messenger. He receives five cards-an ace of diamonds, ace of clubs, ace of spades, ace of hearts and finally the joker. Through the messages he delivers, he meets new people, new stories and new relations. Some of the messages are dark like the message to Edgar Street where he has to face a man who abuses his wife every day, some happy like Milla or Sophie or Father O’Reilly and some very personal like the message to his mother or the ace of hearts where the messages are for his own friends. There are smiles, tears and fists .In the final message, through the joker he faces himself.

But the question ever since the first card has been – who sent it? Could it have been his mother, one of his friends, his brother, his father- who might have planned all this before his death or is it just some random stranger playing with him? Ed Kennedy must face his own fears and intimidations to answer that one last question and to find the real truth that he was never the messenger but the message.

Markus Zusak is brilliant in this book too .Of course there is no competition with the Book Thief which was his best .But I am the messenger has heart .The cards ,the messages ,Ed Kennedy his friends , Marv’s useless car , caffeine addicted Doorman everything seems real and like more than a story .It is lyrical and beautiful. The ending might seem a little disappointing but I don’t think it in anyway effects what essentially the book is trying to tell us. Ed Kennedy tells us that everyone we think ordinary are more ordinary than we think. We are all capable of doing things beyond our designated level of greatness. Ed needed some cards to figure it out that’s all. We are all messengers carrying the greatest message of all – ourselves.

Reviewed by Nandana A. S.

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