Plot Summary: Meet Ed Kennedy—underage cabdriver, pathetic cardplayer, and useless at romance. He lives in a shack with his coffee-addicted dog, the Doorman, and he’s hopelessly in love with his best friend, Audrey. His life is one of peaceful routine and incompetence, until he inadvertently stops a bank robbery. That’s when the first Ace arrives. That’s when Ed becomes the messenger. Chosen to care, he makes his way through town helping and hurting (when necessary), until only one question remains: Who’s behind Ed’s mission?
Some time ago, I picked up THE BOOK THIEF with low expectations. I thought it odd that the main character was a girl, yet the narrator was Death, and didn't think it would come across well in the story. I was pleasantly surprised. :) So, I headed out to pick up other books by the same author, and selected I AM THE MESSENGER.
The story starts out well, piquing my interest and keeping me glued to the pages. Ed’s growth is fantastic. He questions his place in life, steps up to do the things he needs to in order to better his life, as well as the lives of those around him. Each mission he accepts makes him stronger, more sure of himself, and more interesting. He goes from a passive observer to an active member of life, and the writer geek in me was giddy with glee.
Then, we find out who’s behind Ed’s mission...
As with all my book discussions, there are SPOILERS below.
After Ed receives his final mission, a mysterious man appears. It turns out he’s been responsible for the whole thing. The missions, the events, people’s reactions, everything. Absolutely everything.
In fiction, who is the only person that can be responsible for everything that happens in a story? The author. That’s right. The mysterious man who comes to talk to Ed is the author. Markus Zusak. I screamed “are you kidding me?” then nearly threw the book across the room. Nearly, because I can't bring myself to actually throw a book. But this is the closest I've ever come.
If Zusak had simply appeared, said “I did all this to you because I wanted to. Sorry, kid,” and then walked away, I’d have still liked this book. But he didn’t. He sat down, rehashed every single aspect of the story, explaining how it has led to Ed’s growth as a better person. Basically, he told us everything he'd already shown us throughout the entire story.
I haven’t been so insulted as a reader since...well, since never. I am perfectly capable of reading a story and gleaning what the author wants to say, as well as taking away my own meaning. It seemed like Zusak didn’t think that I, or any of his readers, was capable of doing this. So he stuck himself in there just to make sure.
Honestly, I’ve never had such a violently negative reaction to a book before, so I'm unfamiliar with this territory. According to Amazon, this book is classified as YA. I’m wondering what young adults think of this book, and whether they would agree or disagree with me. Anyone know?