Ed Kennedy is a loser – a scruffy, 19-year-old cabdriver with no prospects and no motivation. He stinks at playing cards, is hopelessly in love with his best friend, Audrey, and is entirely devoted to his dog, the Doorman (who drinks coffee and “stinks a kind of stink that’s impossible to rid him of”). Ed’s life is one of dull routine and incompetence – until he singlehandedly foils a bank robbery.
That’s when the first ace arrives in his mailbox. That’s when Ed becomes the messenger. But as he makes his way through town – helping, healing, even hurting when necessary – there’s still one question that remains: Who is behind Ed’s mission?
Zusak’s The Book Thief is one my favorite novels, holding a special place on my shelf alongside heavyweights like The Road and Crime and Punishment. Naturally, then, I had high hopes for I Am the Messenger. Very high hopes.
Hopes which remained largely unrealized.
It pains me to say it, but it’s true: I Am the Messenger is nowhere near as good as The Book Thief. Not by a long shot. Almost everything I loved about that novel is absent from this one. Talk about disappointing.
Now c’mon, you say, that’s not entirely fair. Judge the book on its own merits. Well, I did. And it’s still not very impressive. Decent work, perhaps, but nothing truly great. Nothing I’d be tempted to visit again.