Reading Is Good For You

Book Reviews, Literary News, and Thoughts on Life

Books that Rock: I Am the Messenger by Markus Zusak

Ed Kennedy is an underage cab driver 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.

From critically acclaimed author Markus Zusak comes the story of an unforgettable journey filled with laughter, fists, and love.

That’s when the first ace arrives in the mail.

That’s when Ed becomes the messenger.

Chosen to care, he makes his way through town helping and hurting (when necessary) until only one question remains. Who’s behind Ed’s mission?

This is one of those books that I probably wouldn’t have bothered picking up if I hadn’t read one hundred million reviews raving about it (that figure may be a slight exaggeration). Boy am I glad I did, though, as it’s a beautiful, touching story about this utterly ordinary guy sent on a mission to help out a few people in need.

Though the plot itself is captivating enough, Zusak’s true strength lies in creating these intriguing characters you can’t help but be invested in. Each of them had such a distinct voice, even the Doorman, Ed’s stinky, yet beloved Rottweiler-Shepherd cross. Ed’s narration sucked me in, right from the beginning, when he’s telling us about his humorous experience in a bank robbery gone bad (he’s not the robber, mind).

While Zusak’s compelling writing propelled me along, and kept me wondering who was behind these tasks, I really looked forward to meeting the people Ed encountered through them. Some of these encounters made me fear for Ed, while others were so sweet they brought out the sappy, yes-these-are-tears-of-joy Jenn that I try to suppress as often as I can.

I thought the ending where all was revealed was dead clever, without being too gimmicky and preachy. Ed’s journey really did make me contemplate if this world could be a better place if people simply stopped being selfish for a change and strove to meet the needs of others.

Book 1/100 for the 2010 100+ Reading Challenge


And now on to Books that Rock, the segment where I provide a song or two that describe events occurring in the chosen book (spoilers may occur in the song descriptions, so watch out).


Rescue Mission (Luka Bloom)

This is an old school Luka song (the video is circa 1990, I believe), but it describes Ed’s quest, if you will, to a T. There’s a really cool official video  somewhere out there on the interwebs, but it’s not available on youtube. ‘Tis a shame.

I Will Possess Your Heart – Radio Edit (Death Cab for Cutie)

So, this video makes this song into one big stalker fest (which the song was probably meant to be anyhow), but the words seemed appropriate for the dilemma poor Ed is in with Audrey. She’s his best friend and he’s been in love with her for a long while, but she won’t give him a chance, since she refuses to love anyone after the beating her heart got by her family during her childhood.


6 comments on “Books that Rock: I Am the Messenger by Markus Zusak

  1. alitareads
    January 5, 2010

    Oooh I *love* Death Cab. Great choice!

    • Jenn
      January 6, 2010

      Except for a random song or two on my ipod, I honestly am not all that familiar with Death Cab. What are some of your favorite songs by them?

      • alitareads
        January 6, 2010

        I don’t think I could just pick a couple songs, so here are some of my favourites from their last 3 albums 🙂

        From Transatlanticism – The New Year, Title and Registration, The Sound of Settling, Transatlanticism, A Lack of Color
        From Plans – Marching Bands of Manhattan, Soul Meets Body, I Will Follow You Into The Dark.
        From Narrow Stairs – No Sunlight, Cath…

        • Jenn
          January 6, 2010

          Thanks so much for the song recs – I love hearing new music.

  2. Christa
    January 6, 2010

    I haven’t heard of I Am the Messenger – and like you, not normally a book I’d pick up. But I think I’ll add it to TBR!

    • Jenn
      January 6, 2010

      I’d definitely encourage you to do so – it was a great book!

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This entry was posted on January 5, 2010 by in Books that Rock, Contemporary Fiction, Mystery, Young Adult Fiction and tagged , , , .
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