As the spring weather approaches, I can’t help but look forward to long, sunny beach days with a good book. My trip to Mexico gave me a little teaser of the good life with a book in hand. I’ve been working on I am the Messenger by Markus Zusak for awhile now. With midterms getting in the way, it’s taken me a bit longer to read this than most books I pick up, but this is certainly not due to lack of interest.
Markus Zusak is the author of The Book Thief which was turned into a movie about two years ago. Although never having read or watched The Book Thief, seeing Zusak as the author peaked my interest when deciding on books to dive into. I am the Messenger starts with Ed Kennedy along with his best friends witnessing a bank robbery. Their smart-mouth remarks should have gotten them shot, but Ed knows this gunman is inexperienced and “useless.”
After Ed ultimately stops the bank robber and gets his fifteen minutes of fame in the local papers, he begins to receive cryptic messages on the face of a playing card. The messages lead him to different addresses where he is to help someone in need. Whether it be helping a young girl accomplish her goals or freeing a family from abuse, Ed is the chosen one and becomes the messenger.
These playing cards and messages give his otherwise mediocre life meaning and importance, and although sometimes terrifying and in over his head, Ed faces his missions head on. The question remains who is sending him these cards?
While balancing accomplishing his missions, Ed lives on his own as an underage cab driver with his dog, The Doorman, who loves coffee and desperately needs a bath according to everyone who encounters him. Hopelessly in love with his best friend Audrey, we see his confidence grow as he delivers more and more messages.
Overall, the book at face value is darkly entertaining and stimulating. Each new message brings a new adventure and a new answer to figuring out what these people need or how Ed can help them. Ed and his friends are witty, sarcastic, and bicker constantly creating a face paced dialogue between the characters. Ed is put to the test balancing his friendships, love interest, and these missions sent to him by someone unknown.
This book is one that will make you step back and think about the impact you have on another person. Ed Kennedy, a completely average 19 year old, is given this unusual task, but has the simple ability to be hero for someone in need in some of the simplest ways. It reminds us that a sense of fulfillment and self purpose comes from helping others, and not just being lost in our own day to day lives. After reading this book, you’ll remember that the good life is not something money can buy or popularity can bring, but something that comes from within.
In a book full of Aces & mystery, this story’s a royal flush.