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Book Review: Markus Zusak's "I Am the Messenger"

Jordynn Godfrey

Posted on June 12, 2021 18:45

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"I Am the Messenger" is a novel about a 19-year-old cab driver, Ed. After foiling a bank robbery, he becomes entangled in an elaborate mystery after receiving a playing card with addresses and times written on it.

A few years ago, a friend of mine suggested I read Markus Zusak's I Am the Messenger. Knowing that I was a huge fantasy fan at the time, she described it to me as "magical." However, I was not prepared for the kind of magic she meant.

I Am the Messenger is a novel about a 19-year-old cab driver, Ed. After foiling a bank robbery, he becomes entangled in an elaborate mystery after receiving a playing card with addresses and times written on it.

So, where’s the magic?

Thanks to my friend, I was expecting something similar to fantasy. I did not find that in this novel! However, what I did find impacted me so much so that I recommend this book to anyone who will listen. The magic lays in the message of the story (haha, get it?). I do not want to spoil this novel at all, as I believe most of the appeal comes from the mystery of the novel. However, I do want to discuss some certain some things that were most memorable to me.

First of all, anyone familiar with Zusak knows that he is a skilled writer and storyteller. Sometimes, Zusak's writing throughout I Am the Messenger had me more captivated than the story itself – and I mean that in the best way possible! Some sentences and passages were downright poetic, prompting me to write down especially good lines just so that I could easily read them again.

Now, let's talk about the magic.

Like I said, Ed begins to receive playing cards from an anonymous sender with only addresses and dates written on them. Ed, not having any other instructions other than the playing cards, observes the people he discovers at these addresses, some of them in pretty desperate/dangerous situations. We watch Ed as he finds ways to help these people, sometimes in the most creative and unassuming ways.

The ways in which Ed handles these events, and makes such a huge difference in the lives of others, is truly remarkable – even magical. That's what my friend meant. She did not mean magic in the way I knew it, which involved spells, wands, creatures, and dragons. She meant the magic that can spring from the seemingly mundane; the neighbor that checks up on you, the childhood coach that gave you new gear, the $20 that might appear in your bank account even though you swore you were negative. The little things that are not necessarily supernatural, but make such a positive impact on the everyday lives of people.

Not to mention the magic that arises from the all the mystery! For example, who is sending Ed the playing cards ... 

While I Am the Messenger can display harsh realities and heartbreaking moments, the overall theme of the novel seemed, to me, to be hope. If you're looking for a genuinely thought-provoking and emotional novel, with just a dash of magic, I highly recommend Markus Zusak's I Am the Messenger.

Jordynn Godfrey

Posted on June 12, 2021 18:45

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Source: CS Monitor

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