8.02.2010

i am the messenger.


So I am just going to come right out and admit that I have not yet read The Book Thief. Don't judge me. It is sitting on my bookshelf just waiting to be cracked open. I had heard nothing but good things about it for like a year, so I bought it. Yes, I am an impulse buyer. Anyway, this book is from the same author, Markus Zusak. And wow, this man can write. I mean seriously, I loved this book. The first chapter had me laughing and I was honestly hooked after the first few pages. Though, I will admit, it said the *S* word quite a lot in the first five chapters. It got annoying. Am I just naive? Are all books written like this now days? Oh well, I started ignoring it and by the time I was about a third of the way through the book, the swearing dropped off dramatically. I don't remember if it ever says this, but I am fairly certain the story takes place in Australia (the author is an Aussie himself, if I'm not mistaken) and so there is a lot of use of the word "arse" and things like that. Again, my mental filter kicked in and it didn't bother me after a little bit.

This book is about nineteen-year-old cab driver Ed Kennedy. He is pretty much an average loser. He has little in life to be proud of: his dad died of alcoholism, and he and his mom have a less than successful relationship. He has little to do except share a run-down apartment with his faithful yet smelly dog, drive his taxi, and play cards and drink with his washed-up friends. Oh, and moon over his best friend, Audrey, who is always in love with someone else. Then, after he inadvertently stops a bank robbery, Ed begins receiving anonymous messages marked in code on playing cards (Aces, one of each suit to be precise) in the mail, and almost immediately his life is turned upside-down. So with nothing to lose, Ed embarks on a series of missions as random as a toss of dice: sometimes daredevil, sometimes heartwarmingly safe. The ease with which he achieves results vacillates between futile and dangerous, and Ed's search for meaning and purpose drives him to complete every task and deliver each and every message. But the biggest mystery of all is who is behind the messages? And how does this person seem to know (and predict) Ed's every move?

If I have one complaint about this book, it is that the ending was confusing and a bit unsatisfying. Satisfyingly unsatisfying, if you will. I don't really know. It's like Zusak couldn't figure out how to end it, so he made something up that kept you wondering, and only tied up a couple loose ends. I never figured out why the person behind it all did what they did. Maybe I need to go back and read the last chapter again. Perhaps you'll have to read it to understand what I mean. But what I loved the most was the transformation that Ed Kennedy made and the willingness he developed to make a difference in others' lives when his so obviously sucked.
If anyone has read it or does read it, I would love to hear another opinion.
I am absolutely obsessed with Zusak's writing style. The way he describes feelings and emotions are unlike anything I have read before. His imagery and metaphoric description is fantastic. I still need to read The Book Thief, but I am nearly confident in saying he might be one of my new favorite authors. Then again, I am easily pleased.This book was thrilling, funny, depressing, mysterious, and full of love.
More than anything, full of love.
This one is definitely a keeper. And probably one I will read again in the future.
I certainly recommend it.  
(Just get past the swearing in the first few chapters and I think it will be worth your time!)

2 comments:

Gina Louise said...

I think I want to read this book just because Markus wrote it. I too LOVE his writing. So beautiful.

Oh and you need to read The Book Thief. :)

Sami said...

Thanks for sending this book my way. I just finished it a few days ago and I loved it as well! I completely agree with you on his writing. He makes emotions and words feel like tangible things that fall and move and run. I loved it. (and the book thief is in my top 5 favorite books of all time)