Hello! I know it’s been a while, I’ve been busy reading! I’ve got reviews coming up for A Thousand Splendid Suns and And The Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini, The Fault In Our Stars by John Green, and American Gods by Neil Gaiman. For today, I’ve got I Am The Messenger by Markus Zusak. So sit back, relax, and enjoy the show… read? review? Regardless, enjoy.
Honestly, I picked this book up only because I love The Book Thief, also by Zusak. (At some point I will write about The Book Thief, and it will be a momentous occasion because I love it almost as much as I love the Harry Potter series. That said, I still have to cover Harry Potter. We’ll get there some day, guys.) Knowing how great Markus Zusak’s writing is, and loving his style, I had high expectations for I Am The Messenger. And I was not let down. It is creative, original, intelligently written, and touching. It is a testament to the human spirit, it reminds the reader that everyone has a story, more than one story actually. Everyone has a story they let the world read, a story they let those they love read, and a story read only by themselves. This is one of the many things Ed learns during his message delivering journey. What journey, you ask? Well, I’ll tell you!
After stopping a bank robber from getting away, Ed gets a playing card in the mail. A single ace with three addresses on it. With it comes three messages he has to deliver. While he is not sure what these messages are, he knows they will change his life. At one address he comes across a family with an alcoholic, abusive father, at another an elderly woman suffering from dementia. After delivering messages to the three addresses on the card, Ed receives another card. And then another, and then another. He gets a total of four cards, the four aces in a deck. And each has three messages he must deliver. Each message requires something different, maybe he has to hurt someone, maybe he has to heal someone, maybe he has to allow himself to be hut. But each changes the life of the person receiving the message, as well as Ed’s life. And I loved that concept, that every action Ed takes affects those around him in some way. Also, Markus Zusak is just a brilliant writer. So here are some of my favourite quotes from the book:
“Sometimes people are beautiful.
Not in looks.
Not in what they say.
Just in what they are.”
I love Zusak’s writing. Something about it reminds me more of poetry than novel writing. The way he phrases things, the way he structures paragraphs. It’s just wonderful. Also, I really love this quote. The idea that a person does not have to be beautiful or intelligent or extraordinary to be beautiful. They just have to be themselves.
“It’s not a big thing, but I guess it’s true–big things are often just small things that are noticed.”
This resonated with me, because I’ve never been someone whose actions get noticed. I’m not a “big things” person. As my dad says, I “just go along and do my thing”, trying to be kind to others and not really caring if anyone knows what I’ve done or who I’ve done it for. So if the only thing keeping small things from being big things is someone noticing, then I’m just fine with the small things.
“I’d rather chase the sun than wait for it.”
Sometimes I get stuck in ruts, I get discouraged and I lost sight of my goals and dreams. But then I see something beautiful, like a bright orange and red sunset, or I read something that gets me back on track, and I go back to chasing.
“I think she ate a salad and some soup.
She ate that, too. ”
Just another example of Zusak’s writing style. The poetic phrasing, but also the imagery he creates. Eating loneliness. I’ve never thought of loneliness as something you can eat. But now, now that is what I see when I think of loneliness. Eating dinner by yourself, and you’re eating soup and salad. And loneliness. And now I’m thinking of someone eating at Olive Garden by themselves… “Hi, I’ll have the soup, salad, and breadsticks. But substitute the breadsticks for loneliness please.” Oh dear.
“If a guy like you can stand up and do what you did, then maybe everyone can. Maybe everyone can live beyond what they’re capable of. ”
I put this one in instead of one from the last chapter of the book, because I didn’t want to spoil the ending. But this quote is still fantastic. See, I doubt myself a lot, so I need to be reminded that everyone can change the world. Even if you think yourself insignificant to the wider world, every one of your actions affects someone else. Even the seemingly insignificant ones.
While it didn’t quite meet the standards set by The Book Thief, I Am the Messenger exceeded the expectations I set from reading the synopsis on the back cover and met the expectations I set based on the history I have with The Book Thief. This has definitely become one of my favourite books (though I have a lot, so it isn’t the biggest compliment I can give a book), and was definitely worth the read. Well done, Markus!