“Sometimes people are beautiful. Not in looks. Not in what they say. Just in what they are.”
Author: Markus Zusak Published: 2002 Pages: 460
I Am the Messenger comes from Markus Zusak – author of the bestselling and incredible novel The Book Thief. Anyone who has read that will know how good Zusak’s writing and imagination can be, and while I Am the Messenger is not quite The Book Thief, I love the familiarity of the writing, without even looking, I could tell immediately this was his work. This novel is about a boy called Ed (“Just Ed”) who is very ordinary. He is an underaged cab driver and after a bank robbery that he is unintentionally involved in, his life is flipped upside down. Shortly after the bank robbery incident Ed receives a playing card in the post – its diamonds. From then on, Ed (reluctantly) becomes the messenger, a job that takes him into the lives of strangers around the city, an eye-opening and intimate task which becomes a turning point for him and his outlook on life.This book above all reflects a lot about the nature of the human race and reveals secrets that can so easily be hidden behind closed doors. Zusak is brilliant at creating characters that are so realistic – physically and emotionally.
Above all else, I enjoy the way Zusak writes, so much so that when the plot became a bit flat or uninteresting, it didn’t matter because the words kept enough of my attention that I didn’t have to worry about the story. The book is full of beautiful imagery: “Clouds like cement are paved in sections to the sky.” He takes the mundane and makes it remarkable. It’s hard to put into words what this book conveys to someone who hasn’t read it, it’s just so profound and raw but in such a simple way. Similarly to The Book Thief Zusak is able to “come out” of the character’s head and in doing so reveals things about the character that they might not even know themselves.
Far from the destruction and conflict that is evident in The Book Thief, this novel reveals the little conflict which are ever present for every individual. It may not be a big problem or even one that is visible but for that one person it can be devastating and behind closed doors could be quietly crushing them. While the ending was a little disappointing and felt rushed, the book leaves you with a message; it doesn’t matter how ordinary you think you are, everyone can do something for someone else, no matter how small, and in doing so become something extraordinary.