Zusak, Marcus. I Am The Messenger. New York: Alfred A. Knopf. 2005.
Genre: Realistic Fiction
Audience: 9th-12th grade
Read Aloud: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VFRUFCeu5J4
Summary: Ed Kennedy is a 19 year old cab driver who has nothing going for himself. One day, Ed and his buddy Marv stop by the bank for a quick trip and low and behold the bank gets robbed. Ed has a “heroic” moment when he runs after the robber and picks up the gun, pointing it at him until the cops arrive. From here, a series of events happen, all branching from messages he receives on each ace playing card. He has the opportunity to make a difference in people’s lives and he takes it.
Themes: Compassion in a big theme throughout the book. Ed is extremely compassionate with most of the people he encounters through his missions, with the others he chooses to use a different course of action. Ed believes in the mission and feels close to everyone he is sent to help, thus making him compassionate.
Love is another theme in this book. Ed not only loves Audrey, he loves the people he helps as well. Audrey is a huge part of his life and even though he talks about her sexually, Ed talks a lot about wanting to hold her and longing to kiss her. He even dances with her at the end and we as readers can feel the love he feels for Audrey just by simply dancing with her.
Ambition is another theme we see in this book. Ed is ambitious and can’t wait to help the next person who needs him. He completes every mission, whether physically hard or mentally challenging, and does it with care. At one point, Ed starts to lose sight of what he was sent to do and starts to think he doesn’t want to do it anymore, which I think we all feel as human beings, but with a little-umm-help, he quickly sees that this is what he’s meant to do.
Connections: I am not exactly sure what I would pair this book with, considering how it was written and what the message we as readers were supposed to get at the end. It was very different from anything I’ve read, especially considering the author was behind the whole thing. That really threw me. I felt connected to Audrey because she had a hard time letting people get too close. She struggled with letting people see her. I have this feeling too, this feeling of wanting and pushing at the same time. It is a constant struggle to let someone in and see me, just as it is for Audrey, so I know how she feels and sympathize with her situation. It is terrifying to let people know the real you when you know very well that same person can use the real you to destroy you. The curse of having a broken heart.
Reactions: I really liked this book. I tend to like the books that have a strong message with a comic relief. I can cry and laugh all in the same book. I could see those characters anywhere in the world because they were so versatile. I loved that. Ed was the guy we all thought would never amount to anything in high school, Audrey is the girl in my Sociology class who is known for getting around but never settling down, Marv is my roommate who won’t pitch in to buy a light bulb for the apartment. With characters so real, it’s hard not to like this book.
Reception: Annalisa has some good points about the book that I quite agree with.
On this same sight and with similar views is Jackie “The Librarian”