Monday, February 29, 2016

Review: I Am The Messenger – Markus Zusak


I Am The Messenger – Markus Zusak


Ed Kennedy is an underage cabdriver 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. 
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?


Review: It took me a long time to write this review because I have a feeling that this is a case of “It’s not you, it’s me.”

Nineteen-year-old Ed is a cabdriver who believes that he has achieved everything that he is going to achieve in his life. He lives in a shack with a smelly dog, plays cards with his friends at night, and doesn’t do much else. Then, one day, he inadvertently foils a bank robbery and becomes a minor celebrity. Soon after, playing cards start arriving in his mailbox with messages that he needs to deliver.

Markus Zusak’s other book, The Book Thief is one of my favorite YA novels ever. I think The Book Thief gave me such high expectations that this book could never live up to it. I wanted to like I Am The Messenger a lot more than I did. I think I would have liked it more if I hadn’t read The Book Thief first.

I do have to say that I love the way Markus Zusak writes. It’s poetic and distinctive. I could probably read 1000 of his books and never get sick of them.

I Am The Messenger has one of the funniest opening chapters I’ve ever read. It starts with Ed and his friends getting caught in the middle of a bank robbery, but they are so busy arguing about Ed’s friend’s useless car that they barely notice the robbery. Ed accidently helps the police catch the robber.

Ed is a good narrator. He’s an average guy who doesn’t have the best self-esteem. It’s easy to relate to him because he wants to do good things in the world and live a purposeful life, but he doesn’t know how. He feels stuck. The playing cards in his mailbox give him the push he needs to start making his life better.

My biggest issue with this book is that it feels repetitive. I flew through the beginning, but the middle took me a while. Ed spends most of the book doing nice things for people. It’s sweet, but not exactly gripping. I wanted more suspense. I also think some of the people overreacted to his good deeds. He buys a family some Christmas lights, and they practically make him a saint. Maybe I’m cynical, but some of the reactions are a little too over-the-top for me. I have a hard time believing them.

There is a huge twist at the end of the book, and it left me disappointed. While I understand the twist, it seems like a cop-out.

This definitely isn’t a bad book. I’m possibly being too harsh on it. It’s well-written, funny, and I love the Doorman, Ed’s dog. The book has an uplifting message about helping others and working to improve your life if you are unhappy with it. This book just didn’t quite live up to my (possibly unrealistic) expectations.




13 comments:

  1. The Book Thief is also one of my favorite books of all time. I have this book on my Kindle, but I haven't read it yet. It kind of sucks that you didn't love it more. He is an amazing writer. Great review though.

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    1. I totally agree on Zusak being an amazing writer. This book is well-written, but it didn’t have the plot stuff I wanted.

      Aj @ Read All The Things!

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  2. The Book Thief is one of my favorite young adult novels as well, and think I would go in with high expectations too. I'm sorry to hear I Am The Messenger didn't work for you and thanks for the honest review.

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    1. Yeah, my expectations were probably too high.

      Aj @ Read All The Things!

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  3. I've been debating whether to read this one or pass on it. I've heard so many mixed reviews that I'm nervous. I really loved The Book Thief as you did so yeah... I'm nervous this won't live up to the hype I've set for it.

    Carrie @The Book Goddess

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    1. It didn’t live up to my expectations, but the writing is just as awesome as in The Book Thief.

      Aj @ Read All The Things!

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  4. The Book Thief is my favorite standalone, too, so I can imagine the high expectations you had going into I Am The Messenger. Despite my love for his previous book, I don't think I'll read this one. I'm hesitant because I feel that it will hinder my love for Zusak so I'll just stop while I'm ahead, haha.

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    1. Lol, it didn’t hinder my love, but it did disappoint me a little.

      Aj @ Read All The Things!

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  5. This sounds like such an awesome premise, and unexpected from Zusak -- i'm sorry this wasn't as good as you hoped :(

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    1. It is an interesting premise. It just didn’t work out like I’d hoped.

      Aj @ Read All The Things!

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  6. Yes. I agree. I was disappointed, especially in the ending, but felt awkward about admitting it. Thank you for giving me permission!

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  7. I actually really liked this! Sure the ending was a bit... underwhelming, but I thought that the little acts he did to make people happy were so sweet, and I thought the writing was really nice (of course, it’s Zusak!)

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  8. I haven't read this book yet, so I don't want to spoil myself too much by reading your whole review. However, I have really high expectations for this book, especially after reading The Book Thief. Even though it's been a few years, that book is still with me, and I just want to love everything by Zusak as much.

    I think I'll check this one out, though. I like books with positive messages, so it might be one that's for me.

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