Thursday, October 13, 2005

I Am the Messenger

It's been awhile, hasn't it? Like Counterfeit Son, this book has been hanging around waiting for me to blog it. Begging piteously, in fact.

Book: I am the Messenger
Author: Markus Zusak
Published: 2005

Ed Kennedy is pretty much a loser. Working as an underage cabbie, he goes home to a tiny shack and a really smelly dog. The love of his life prefers to be friends. Even his mom doesn't have much use for him.

Then one day he gets an ace of diamonds in the mail, marked with three addresses and times. His task--to go to those addresses at those times, meet the people there, and change their lives.

How he's going to do it is up to him.

This odd and thought-provoking book is structured around the four suits of playing cards. From the ace of diamonds, Ed goes on to clubs, spades, and hearts, each with a strange and nonsensical task that causes him to connect with at least three more people. From replacing lightbulbs in Christmas lights to sponsoring a meet-the-priest day for a struggling church (the key - free beer) to finally getting up the guts to face the love of his life, Ed's tasks ask more and more of him, in different ways. And from perfect strangers to his nearest and dearest (who may be the strangest of all), he gradually adds people to his lonely existence.

Gritty in patches, sweet in others, this book is very readable, if you don't mind some rough language. The ending, and the explanation for why and how Ed is getting all these cards, is a bit too clever, but the book's overall message about connecting to other people is well worth hearing.

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