The universe has a scary way of choosing a path for you if you haven’t figured your life out yet, and nineteen year-old Ed Kennedy, in a remarkable burst of bravery, foiled a bank robbery attempt and became the city’s hero overnight. This significant turn in his life paved the way to his appointment as the “Messenger.” By whom and why? He doesn’t know! Different mysterious people guide him and send him on missions which all depends on his ability to unravel the clues on the playing card and information sent to his apartment. He receives an Ace of Diamonds as a starting point, and his life was never the same even after he completed his deck. The story explored the concept of doing good deeds, sort of like paying it forward, but a more complicated and ethically challenging version. Being a modern-day Robin Hood doesn’t quite match what the Messenger’s job description is because he just doesn’t punish the bad guys. He also needs to be a life-changing source of inspiration to the chosen clients in the scheme. Ed’s goodness and compassion is innate so it’s not too hard for him to fit the role assigned to him. If he, as an ordinary teen, could fulfill the arduous tasks given him, how much more better place this world would be if the rest of humanity made it a mission to help each other?
I am happily surprised that the author, Markus Zusak, included a case on religious faith which is a topic rarely touched in mainstream literature nowadays. Fictional this novel may be, but it hits a slice of life wherein some churches in some parts of the world find it to be a miracle to have a steady stream of congregation. How was Ed able to do this miracle? You’d have to read the book and see what he comes up with! In general, Zusak has a very earnest way of revealing much of real life’s agony and hope in Ed’s journeys to completion of his tasks. This novel is both light and dark, snicker-out-loud funny and emotionally harrowing in Ed’s times of suffering for his cause. His cases are both beautiful and difficult, and the relief in me as a reader even develops a deeper respect on how these scenarios were made because all aspects of the story did resolve even the most challenging one: Ed’s transformation from a selfish to selfless person, from being the Messenger to actually being the message in the end. I loved this book in my first read, but I think it deserves a re-read for me to appreciate it fully and deeply.
I’ve finished The Book Thief, the author’s more popular bestseller now being filmed into an adaptation. I also vowed to re-read it before I make my review. It’s THAT good of a material that I don’t want to just base my entry on initial feelings. I may be able to write a postscript to I Am The Messenger too if I feel I missed out on a lot of important elements to note. Needless to say, Zusak is my new favorite author. His books are gems in mainstream literature that has a lot of depth but is easily accessible and relatable to teens. I’ll be happy to hear if you’ll give these two masterpieces as gifts for Christmas! At least, I would.