This is a slightly late “What’s BookieMonster currently reading?” post, so I’ll be honest and say I’ve actually just finished reading this book, however it’s just TOO good not to write about.
The book is The Messenger by Marcus Zusak, also know in the United States as I Am the Messenger. I’ll start by saying I was a huge fan of Zusak’s more prominent recent work The Book Thief – if you haven’t read it, no excuses, you simply must!
The Messenger is a very different book in location to The Book Thief, but is not a lesser book by any means. Set in a fringe town of Sydney, Australia, the book centres around Ed Kennedy, a 19 year old taxi driver who spends his days and nights driving taxis and playing cards with his friends Marv, Ritchie and Audrey (the classic subject of Ed’s unrequited love). Ed seems just an average young man, living a decidedly average life, until he receives a message – a coded message written on a playing card (the Ace of Diamonds to be exact) – that shows that Ed is very definitely not average.
I won’t ruin too much of the story because in many ways this book is a mystery – not just who is sending Ed the messages and why, but why does Ed become so intent on decoding the messages and following the seeming “whims” of the sender.
There are several themes at play in this book, the nature of love, the messiness and occasional random cruelty as well as the joy of family but to me the over-riding theme seemed to be that very ordinary people can do ordinary things that in small ways create something very extraordinary indeed, given the right circumstances.
Like The Book Thief, The Messenger is classed as Young Adult, but I would in no way fit it in to a neat, tidy, limiting box. It’s a very special book, and I think readers of all ages will find it speaks to them in quiet and powerful ways. Read it – you will not be disappointed.