Retro Friday reviews are hosted by Angieville. Basically you spotlight an older book on Fridays.
“It isn’t just sex I’d want from her.
I’d want to feel myself mold with her, just for a moment, if that’s all I’m allowed.
She smiles at me when she wins a round, and I smile back.
Want me, I beg, but nothing comes.’
There must be something in Australia’s water that produces excellent authors, because I have yet to read an Aussie YA that sucks. Marcus Zusak, I think, is a special gem hailing from Down Under and definitely one of the best authors ever regardless of where he hails from. Seriously The Book Thief made a believer out of me and I Am The Messenger made me an evangelist.
“She was in there on her own, making her dinner and sitting tehre eating, and drinking tea. I think she ate a salad and some soup.
She ate that, too.
I liked her.’
Ed Kennedy, 19, is one of those people we all know. He is basically nice, but kind of a loser. Ed is not really doing anything with his life or living up to his potential, instead he drives a taxi cab. When he prevents a bank robber quite by accident, Ed’s life begins to change. He begins to receive playing cards in the mail with hints of people he is supposed to do life changing tasks for. And I realize my summary strips away a lot of the complexity, but I think that is best left to discover for yourself.
“I’m about to leave when she asks, ‘Ed?’
It shocks her that I know her name, but she goes on. ‘Are you some kind of saint or something?’
Inside, I laugh. Me? A saint? I list what I am. Taxi driver. Local deadbeat. Cornerstone of mediocrity. Sexual midget. Pathetic cardplayer.
I say my final words to her.
‘No, I’m not a saint, Sophie. I’m just another stupid human.'”
You see, I Am The Messenger is based around a brilliant concept. Random acts of kindness and in some cases, vengeance, can not only change the beneficiary’s life but also the life of the messenger too. And I’m about to get maudlin, but the stories of the people helped by Ed touched my heart. I know that sounds incredibly dumb, but I got weepy over Christmas lights, bare feet, and an ice cream cone. It made me want to perform small acts of kindness in my life, and friends I am NOT a very nice person.
“I want to talk to him.
I want to ask him about that girl and if he loved her and still misses her.
Nothing, however, exits my mouth. How well do we really let ourselves know each other?”
Zusak excels not only in the big picture, but in the minute details. He uses phrasing that made me think of small every day acts in a whole new way. He describes the longing of Ed for his dear friend Audrey, in a way that will break your heart into little pieces with hope for Ed. Or the simple act of reading to an old woman. Hell, even running at the crack of dawn seemed appealing after reading I Am The Messenger.
“Our footsteps run, and I don’t want them to end. I want to run and laugh and feel like this forever. I want to avoid any awkward moment when the realness of reality sticks it’s fork into our flesh, leaving us standing there, together. I want to stay here, in this moment, and never go to other places, where we don’t know what to say or what to do.
For now, just let us run.”
There are so many characters in I Am The Messenger each playing a fabulous part, yet I will only focus on the main players. Kids, I just want to reach out and hug Ed Kennedy and tell him he is awesome and wonderful, and to be proud of being so well read and that sex DOES matter and that life is still full of possibilities at 19. Then, after taking Ed aside, I would take his friend and crush Audrey aside and tell her to stop fucking around, that Ed is a great dude and would not hurt her. Yes, getting hurt by those you thought loved you sucks, but when you fall off the horse, you get right back up there. I would tell Marv, Ed’s friend with the shitty car and stingy wallet, that I’m glad I didn’t write him off as a douche, that I love his multilayers. There’s also Ed’s lazyass friend Ritchie, but he doesn’t really merit a sentence. To the Doorman, I would give him a nice bowl of coffee and a pat on the head for being a fabulous dog.
“Lua kisses her.
Just softly on the lips.
And she kisses back.
Sometimes people are beautiful.
Not in looks.
Not in what they say.
Just in what they are.”
Friends, I can say straight up when confronted with a non-YA believer, hand them a book by Zusak for a rich, layered, beautiful read. I promise his book will go a long way in converting your friend to YA.
“The best thing about the whole story is Milla. For me, it’s her in the pages. When I think of that book, I think of her. I think of her old moist eyes watching me read as she listens. I love closing the book and seeing the old lady resting in her chair. I think she’s my favorite message.”
Disclosure: I purchased this book with my hard earned cashmoney.
Other Reviews of I Am The Messenger by Markus Zusak:
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*Read as part of September Is Read Your Own Books Month and my own personal Fill In The Gaps Project