messengerEd Kennedy has literally nothing going for him. He is 19, drives a taxi cab, lives in a ramshackle house with his dog the Doorman, and is hopelessly in love with his best friend, Audrey. In other words, he has no plans for his future. His life has been nothing but ordinary and he hasn’t done anything to make his situation better. Every day is the same in Ed’s life until he is witness to a bank robbery and helps to catch the culprit. Not long after, he mysteriously receives a playing card in the mail. The Ace of Diamonds with three addresses and times written on it. Each address leads Ed to someone’s home where he is prompted to help someone, to change their lives forever, or to simply do something for that person that makes them feel special. Will Ed live up to the expectations of the cards? Will he become the messenger?

I Am the Messenger by Markus Zusak is one of those rare books that you can pick up time and time again and still be able to connect with the main character, Ed. Despite his sluggish attitude and resistance to change, I loved  reading from Ed’s point of view. He was snarky and sarcastic yet still had a big heart. As the reluctant hero of this story, Ed is the perfect narrator, whose thoughts it was very easy to delve into (whether he is thinking about his love for Audrey or obsessing over the clues left for him on the cards). While he is hesitant to take on the responsibilities set before him, what I liked about Ed the most was his dark sense of humor, his humanity, and that fact that he did not take his duty as the messenger lightly.

While I liked Ed, and I loved each of his friends (no matter how much crap they gave Ed over the cards he received), what really stuck with me long after the novel was over were the many people Ed was sent to help.

It was the little old lady who lost her love to war and who has been waiting for his return,
the high school student who runs to simply feel free,
the young mother who isn’t able to think about her own happiness and needs.

These are characters that stuck with me the most from I Am the Messenger.

These people will make you laugh, they will tear out your heart, and they will remind you of people you know from your own life. Each of their stories is beautiful and unique and each of them alone makes this novel worth reading. Each of them help to make this story great.

Markus Zusak has proved once again with I Am the Messenger that he can craft a novel so beautiful and profound that it will change the way you think about your own life and change the way you see the world around you. He has written a story full of gorgeous and sometimes gut-wrenching imagery that will make readers lose themselves inside the life and story of Ed Kennedy. This book is laugh out loud funny at times and heartbreaking at others but one thing is for certain, Ed will give you hope that even the most ordinary person is capable of doing extraordinary things.

  “It’s like I’ve been chosen. But chosen for what? I ask.
   The answer is quite simple:
   To care”