Zusak, Markus. I Am the Messenger
New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2005.
Written by: Markus Zusak
Reviewed by: Amanda Phan
Recommended Audience: Older Teens
Our novel begins with our protagonist, Ed Kennedy, face down in the floor of a bank, which is currently being robbed. This one instance is what sends us accompanying Ed through the course of his journey. “Just Ed” is a nineteen-year-old boy, living on his own and working as a cab driver in New York City. Coming from a family that’s all separated and moved on in their own paths in life, Ed is the last child left in the city he grew up in. He spends his days cab driving, playing cards with his friends, or talking with his dog, the Doorman. He believes that he is aspiring to nothing; his life is just one steady, unproductive flow. Until we encounter him in this one particular moment.
As mentioned before, we begin with an awkward introduction to Ed. He and his friends are conveniently in a bank making a deposit, when it is suddenly taken over by an attempted robbery. After the clumsy robber tries to get away with Marv’s (Ed’s friend) car, Ed pursues the thief and has him at gunpoint in Marv’s car. The police come and arrest the thief, turning Ed into a local hero. A few days after the incident, Ed receives one single card in his mailbox, an ace of diamonds. The card has three different addresses on it with times to show up there. A bit hesitant at first, Ed chooses to ignore the card. However, after a period of time, he chooses to visit these sites. Each one offers a person in need of some form of help. Ed is supposed to be the messenger. Unsure of the message himself, he must go to each of the locations, observing the people, and decide what message to bring to them. After the first card is completed, Ed is sent more cards with instructions to follow. Some are people who need help, and some need to be hurt in order to learn a lesson. These tasks assigned to him are also simple jobs or place him in a great deal of trouble. As we journey along this path with Ed, we attempt to discover who is putting him up to this and why.
Through the novel we see a great development in our protagonist. He turns from the face of a boy who has no self value, to a boy who slowly discovers himself with each mission. He begins to realize his true potential through each message he delivers and gains more confidence in his actions. He finally finds his place in this world and more importantly, in himself.
Publisher’s Website: http://www.randomhouse.com/