Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Can One Person Really Change the World?


I chose to read I am the Messenger (357 pgs, Knopf) by Markus Zusak for a couple of reasons. I picked it for the "Something About Me" Challenge. It was on Jill's list. I had already read The Book Thief by Zuzak and I loved it. And finally....I liked the name!

Ed Kennedy is a nineteen-year-old cabdriver. He is a self-proclaimed screw-up. He didn't try hard in school, never went to the University, and only took a job cab-driving because it was easy. He spends all the rest of his time with his extremely smelly 17-year-old dog, The Doorman, or playing cards with Richie, Merv and Audrey -- his best friends and comrades in doing just enough to get by. But all of that changes one day.

The four friends had stopped at the bank before going home, and were caught up in the middle of a robbery. After a really inept attempt, the robber tried to flee the scene, and Ed chased after him. He held him until the cops arrived and was thus labeled the local "hero", a title that was rather unusual to Ed. He wasn't used to the attention. And then it happened. He received a card in the mail. Not just any card, but the Ace of Diamonds. There was nothing on the card, but 3 addresses, with a different time next to each. But what did it mean? What was he supposed to do?

Ed didn't have a clue what to do, but Audrey felt that he was chosen for something special because of the robbery. So late one night he arrived at the first address, only to find a very scared wife and daughter that had to endure the torture of a drunken man each night. Ed knew in his heart it was up to him to rescue them, but he wasn't a hero. In fact, he was rather a coward. Would he be able to find the courage to tackle each assignment as it came along? Could he deliver the "messages" that needed to be sent?

To be honest, I knew absolutely nothing about this book when I decided to read it. But I liked The Book Thief, and thought I would give it a try. It turned out to be a very special book....one that touched me very deeply. Have you ever had a book weave it's way into you soul? Deeply, like there was spot there waiting just for that book?? Well, I am the Messenger was the book that did it for me. Ed Kennedy was a wonderfully flawed character. He knew his weaknesses, and was afraid to actually do anything that might disrupt the sameness of his life. Page after page the story builds, and Ed evolves into someone new.

Usually, we walk around constantly believing ourselves. "I'm okay," we say. "I'm all right." But sometimes the truth arrives on you, and you can't get it off. That's when you realize that sometimes it isn't even an answer -- it's a question. Even now, I wonder how much of my life is convinced."

I can understand this. I can relate to this. I FEEL this sometimes. I really loved this book. The absolutely only thing that kept this from a 5-star review was the ending. I thought it was rather rushed, and tied up a little too neatly. The entire premise of the book is a little unbelievable. But it made me WANT to believe that one person really can change the world. 4.5/5

20 comments:

raidergirl3 said...

Exactly!! ditto.

Chris said...

Wow...what a beautiful review of what sounds like a beautiful book! I still haven't read The Book Thief. Zusak sounds like an amazing author. I REALLY have to check him out!

Marg said...

I've only read The Book Thief, which I loved. I have every intention of reading more from him though!

DesLily said...

what a great present to not expect much but get a whole lot!!

Debi said...

Oh Stephanie, what an incredibly beautiful review! You've definitely sold me! I haven't even read The Book Thief yet (though I have it on one of my many challenge lists for next year), but I think this one may just have to come first. Thanks!

jean pierre said...

as everyone said - really cool review!!

this book sounds really interesting... like theres more below the surface of its premise.

Nymeth said...

That is an absolutely gorgeous cover, and it sounds like a gorgeous book too. I'm going to read The Book Thief next year for the Themed Reading Challenge, and if I like it (which I think I will) I'll pick this one up.

Thanks for the wonderful review!

Stephanie said...

Raidergirl - The book was just so good. I really didn't like the way it ended. I mean it was nice, but it just was too quick and painless considering the rest of the book!!

Chris - You've got to read his books!! I've loved both so far!

Marg - This one is really good. Kind of a "Pay it Forward" kind of premise.

Deslily - You are so right. Much better than expectations being too high!

Debi - Thanks!! This is one of those books that I FELT when I read it. I think I've cried more reading Zuzak books than any other books this year!

JP - It was really good. Lots of stuff going on!

Stephanie said...

Nymeth - If you haven't read the Book Thief, you must!! The two books were completely different. But they book really touched me. Though it was labeled YA, I'm not really sure I would call them that.

Suey said...

Great review! I wish I could convey my feelings about this book just like you've done! I'm axiously awaiting more from Zusak. He definately has a way with words and making you really think on things.

Andi said...

Wow, that did it. This book is going on my stacks NOW! Hello, Amazon!

Stephanie said...

Andi - I can't think of a better way to spend a few dollars at Amazon!!

raidergirl3 said...

Yeah, the ending. I didn't get it really. Maybe I read too fast. But the journey to getting there was so good, I didn't mind.
It really touches you in a profound way, and I wonder if not knowing anything about it helped in that regard. I had no clue about the book, and was blown away.

Jill said...

Hi, Stephanie: It's Jill - I am so glad you enjoyed this book. I have to agree about the ending - a little too buttoned up - but overall, it was such a wonderful book. Ed Kennedy is a character who will stay with me for a long time.

Thanks for selecting this book!

Jill
http://mrstreme.livejournal.com

Melody said...

Great review, Stephanie! I might add this onto my list, thanks!

Carl V. said...

I thought the premise for this book sounded absolutely amazing when I read the book jacket awhile back. This is definitely on my to read list.

Trish said...

After searching for a halfprice copy of The Book Thief I finally broke down and bought it at Barnes and Noble the other day. I can't wait to read it (in 2008). :) Glad you liked this one so much!

Rhinoa said...

Looks like a really interesting book. I am really looking forward to reading The Book Thief and if I like it I will definitely get this one too.

naida said...

I have to check this out, great review! sounds inspirational.

Booklogged said...

Loved I Am the Messenger and Book Thief. Such different books, but they both get to you and make a big impact.