Wednesday, June 12, 2013

review #1

Okay, so when I read The Book Thief the summer before my sophomore year for a history class, I didn't really think much of the author behind it, Markus Zusak beyond that I really liked the story he'd created and I couldn't stop crying for a good twenty minutes after. Then, I shelved the book, and went on with my literary life and left Zusak behind. And I think that's not to do with Zusak's talents as a writer in any way, it doesn't mean his prose and diction aren't poignant (they most certainly are), but just to do with the problematic way I consumed literature for most of my life.

Recently (like, within the last two weeks) I tweeted and asked for a book recommendations and my only friend in the world responded I am the Messenger by Markus Zusak which was, of course, already on my list of books to read on Goodreads, but reminded me to put it on my actual library book list and after paying off a gross amount of debt I had stored at the library from about two years ago, I had it in my hands and was ready and prepared to read.

As a reader I am distrustful, usually, of the YA lit genre - there are a lot of the same tropes retold time and time again, also, I've read enough of it to feel sated in my desire to understand what kids these days are reading. I've had my luck with YA books recently, particularly in reading The Fault in Our Stars by John Green, which at this point isn't cool to have read, and Why We Broke Up by Daniel Handler, which ruined my life. And now, I can add I am the Messenger to that list of Extraordinary YA Lit books that I have in the disorganized chaos of my brain.

I am the Messenger is subtly moving. It reaches out in the first chapter and takes hold of you and it is so, so hard to put down that I absolutely devoured it yesterday morning and when I say devoured I mean I could barely look at my phone to check the time. Zusak is a brilliant novelist, inventive and original. (If you haven't read The Book Thief, spoiler alert, it's narrated by DEATH!!!! So cool.) 

And I am the Messenger is no exception to what may or may not be a rule. It's narrated by Ed Kennedy, nineteen years old and masquerading as a twenty-year-old in order to work as a cabby and the novel starts when he witnesses a bank robbery and halts it.

It spins off very unexpectedly. Unconventional and surprising and heartwarming all at the same time, I am the Messenger tells the greatest love story of all: learning to love the self.

I don't know what I liked most about the story. As someone who has never experienced very extreme self confidence issues, I really enjoyed traveling along on the journey to self love (which sounds like a cheesy self-help book) or what have you. Literature has the power to transport you somewhere else, be it a different era, a different state, country, heck, planet, but what I love most about literature is its transformative powers, that one feeling someone felt and put into their work turned out something else. Something that I can find and relate to or empathize with.

I am the Messenger does just that. Though the prose is, at times, clumsy and a little jarring, nonetheless, there were many parts where I was more or less stunned by the language. The story drives the plot and it took no time at all to get more or less "into" the book. It was a fast read. Ed's story, his life, his quirky dog and his (at first, to him) deadbeat friends become your story. Your dog, your friends, your life. Definitely worth reading!!!!

1 comment:

  1. I've been looking for more books to add to my reading list, and now this will definitely be on it! I haven't read the Book Thief yet, so that will have to go on too.