Book Review: I Am The Messenger

So it turns out my best friend has really good taste in books. The words “we should read this” being uttered at the book store are dangerous words indeed — especially when there’s a paperback involved.


I Am The Messenger

  • Author: Markus Zusak
  • Publisher: KNOPF
  • Year: 2002
  • Shelved in: Teen fiction
  • Genre vibe: Vaguely supernatural urban fiction.
  • At a glance: Humans are incredible. And unfortunate in many ways. But still incredible.
  • Is this review spoiler free?: Nothing overly specific is mentioned. I wouldn’t scream if this were spoiled, either. It’s an experience of a book no matter how you read it.

The Good Stuff

How does one review this book? It can be summed up so easily, in my eyes.

Good work, Ed Kennedy.

This is a book about a boy — a young man, really — and the playing-card-promises that are thrust upon him after he stops a bank robbery. More accurately, though, it’s a book about a boy who learns a lot of things. About the world, about the concept of life, about other human beings, and even — or maybe especially — about himself. It’s a book about a lot of things, really.

Like how someone like underage, undervalued Ed Kennedy can not only make an impact upon but save the lives of other people who are hurting in much more obvious ways than him.

Or how great perseverance is.

Or how cool a storytelling method that’s almost noir can be. That too.

I loved so much about this book. Zusak’s writing is just spellbinding. The atmosphere is absolutely incredible. Grime and asphalt and guns and water and bruises and blood and dark streets and warm homes.

All of this just carries over into how much the characters mean. Ed is so amazing I really don’t know what to say besides that I absolutely adored him from the minute he stepped on stage.

Not to mention all the fourth-wall breakage. Absolutely beautiful.

The whole thing is just kind of…beautiful. It’s intense, but it’s supposed to be. It makes an impact. It makes you feel your heart beating in your chest and see how someone else looks when the same thing is happening to them. And I love that. It’s so personal, the whole entire time.


Questions, Comments, Concerns?

Well, like I said. It’s gritty. It’s heartwarming, no doubt, but it’s not nice about it. After all, sometimes to get anything warm you have to light a fire underneath it. So it’s not pretty, but it’s beautiful. It means something, I think.

I don’t really have any concerns. It’s not for everybody, obviously. But then, nothing is.


  • Rating: 5/5 stars
  • Recommended to: People who really like people, or who really like amazing prose, or who really like atmospheric books.Especially atmosphere. That was my favorite part.
  • Lasting impression: Dirt-smudged hands, an overflowing heart, and one beat up taxi cab.

3 thoughts on “Book Review: I Am The Messenger

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