Markus Zusak. I Am The Messenger. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2002.
Genre: Young Adult Fiction
Audience: 16 and up
Read Aloud: Youtube
Summary: After foiling a bank robbery, Ed Kennedy begins to receive secret messages of task he must do. He makes his way through the different clues in order to change the lives of many different people. Eventually, he makes many friends that are grateful for all that he has done for them. He even helps his closest friends in their own struggles that he never knew about. In the end, his overall mission was to actually realize who he was as a person and realize that he can do more than he ever thought he could.
Themes: The major themes in this book is self-esteem and self identity. Ed begins the book by thinking that he is going nowhere in life and he does not matter at all. His mother hates him and he seems to have no direction in live. Through his tasks, he realizes that he can help people and it builds his confidence gradually.
As he finishes up his different tasks, he begins to realize that he his learning a lot about himself as he goes. He can relate to Ritchie because he also has no direction in life. He also comes to terms with his mother’s hatred and they seem to grow closer. In the end, he has found a new partner in life besides the Doorman. He understands that he now has control over his life and that he can do whatever he wants to succeed.
Connections: This is a great book to teach self-esteem to students. It is a great way to show students that they can help out everyone in life and that they will be rewarded for their actions by having the gratitude of many people. This book could possibly be paired with the movie Pay It Forward because both involve helping random people. The boost to the self-esteem that both characters feel will show that helping others matters in life.
Reactions: I really enjoyed this book. I loved the character development between the four friends and how they became stronger friends as Ed helped each of them out. Of course I loved how Ed showed up at the door with the music to dance to with Audrey. It reminded me of all the first dances I had when growing up and how powerful those can be. The mystery kept me interested at all times, and it was an easy read.
Reception: This book got a great review from Terry Miller Shannon. She says that,”Good books entertain; great books tip your world ever so slightly. Don’t be surprised if reading I Am the Messenger shifts your perspective on your own life.” I agree with this quote because it did sort of change the way I look at my life and the lives of all my friends.
Another review I read also loves the book. “Ed, was a fantastic character, self-effacing, but as he completed the task set to him, he realises what he has to give, his friends, family and the wider community around him.” I like this review because it speaks about the main theme of helping yourself and your community.