This book was the reason why I never finished Pet Sematary, by Stephen King. Well, Pet Sematary was so depressing it make Mockingjay look like a happy ending, so that might have explained my willingness to throw the book away in exchange for this one, but I’m sure the main reason for it was this book’s opening scene.
I was in the library for study hall, and I had a very important assignment due next period. So of course I spent the first fifteen minutes of the period wandering around the fiction section. I found I am the Messenger, a book I was planning to read after I finished a bunch of other books. But within the first two paragraphs, I was instantly hooked, and was forced to check it out immediately.
Best. Opening Scene. Ever. My laughter was so hard that some engineers bought if from me and ended up using it as a replacement for concrete. It starts off with a bank robbery. Sounds like a tense situation, right? Not right. The robber is pathetically bad at robbing and the main characters are more annoyed at the inconvenience of the whole thing, rather than scared of the prospect, of you know, dying.
The main character, Ed, ends up stopping the bank robber (surprisingly easy considering how stupid the guy was), and is temporarily a hero. Which is unusual for him since he’s nineteen, has a low-paying taxi-driving job, no real career, is pitifully bad with the ladies, and has no motivation to do anything else with his life.
Then a card shows up in the mail with three addresses. One of them leads to a kind, old woman suffering from loneliness and some type of amnesia. The other one leads to a shy, self-conscious girl who runs a lot. The last one leads to a brutal abusive father who rapes his wife every single night.
Well that escalated quickly.
Since this is one of those no-spoiler reviews, I won’t tell you how this all works out, except that throughout the book, Ed continues to get playing cards, each of them leading to a person who needs help, and it’s his job to help them out. This is the type of plot I wish I had written, because I love the idea of helping out random people you don’t even know, and I love watching other people do these things too. That’s why I loved videos such as Vlogbrother’s Positive Pranking and Nigahiga’s Christmas Ninja videos shown below.
Also, the writing is cool.
Sometimes, Zusak writes like this.
With one sentence as a paragraph.
Just one line.
A bunch of times.
Some people might not like this.
But I do.
It emphasized the emotion.
Of the moment.
Oh, and the figurative language was beautiful.
It was almost poetical.
Like a lion.
I loved this book up until the last twenty pages or so. But until then, this book was perfect. Unlike the Book Thief, which was heart-breakingly sad, this book had a warm, fuzzy Christmas-y feeling to it, which I loved. My favorite part of the book was when Ed had to help his friends, Marv, Richie and Audrey. It was that part of the book that made the characters memorable. (Except Audrey. Audrey was sort of forgettable and didn’t add much to the story.) Richie’s problem especially spoke out to me, since it’s so relatable, and Marv’s story was heart-breaking (figuratively),and it added a million times more depth to his character.
Then the book had one of the worst endings I’ve ever read. (And I thought some of Stephen King’s endings were bad!) The ending, to me at least, made no sense at all. It felt like the author couldn’t think of a decent ending, so he just added that on with twenty minutes left to the deadline. It took what could have been a perfect book, rivaling that of The Book Thief, but the ending ruined the whole thing for me.
Overall Rating: 3.5/5
- People who haven’t read The Book Thief yet. Read this book first, so you can think, “Not too shabby,” and then read The Book Thief, so it could blow your mind socks off.
- People who enjoy a mystery/comedy/contemporary book.
- People who like playing cards.
- People with disproportionately large thumbs.
- Anyone who’s not easily offended (there’s a plethora of cursing in this book).
For those who’ve read the book, what did you think of it? Do you agree with me? Do you disagree with me? Do you not not maybe probably not really disagree with me? Comment below!