While I adore Zusak's The Book Thief, I am focusing on one of his other novels today. For me, this novel is closer to my heart. The center focus of it is something many of us go through and for that, well, I love it.
The main character, Ed Kennedy, is an underage cab driver. He lives with his dog and his life seems to be going nowhere. Ed is somewhat complacent with the direction his life is going. Then Ed stops a bank robbery and his life begins to change when an ace from a play card deck arrives in his mail. Ed is sent on missions, to hurt or help as he is needed.
Throughout the process, Ed grows. He begins to realize what happens when we make choices, good or bad. He learns about the mistakes he has made, the assumptions he had about himself, well, they are all wrong.
Each message and note to him allows Ed the opportunity to do things he wouldn't have done before. He reaches out to individuals who have it far rougher than he does to comfort them, give them guidance, and set them straight. He becomes a person who cares about the people and world around him, and forgets to focus solely on his own misery.
It is an inspiring book. The way Ed begins to handle the darker side of life thrown at him really grabs hold of the reader. You meet Ed as a pathetic teen, who believes in nothing but continuing to work at his crummy job. But once he believes that someone believes in him, it all begins to change. Ed takes on an assertive tone, and finds the courage within himself to push the people around him-strangers or friends.
This is a novel I need to praise more and recommend. I think it is overshadowed by its brother (The Book Thief), but I cherish it a little more. I can relate to Ed and his struggle. Looking at this cover reminds me to be kind to the people around me and to help others as much as I can. It certainly is a message we all need to hear.
But the best part of my own copy is that it is signed, along with my copies of The Book Thief and Getting the Girl. Zusak came to my hometown about 3 years ago for a reading and to promote The Book Thief. I begged my mother to go with me, and she did. He was a great speaker and inspiring. He talked to everyone who came to his signing, and personalized messages in each book. All three of the books have their own special message. In this book, "Here's to coffee drinking dogs, barefoot shoes, and love..."
This is a novel that holds a special place in my heart. I hope you all pick up a copy at some point, and give it to a friend in need.
I haven't read this one, but I've heard very good things about it. It's going on my to-read list for next year now that you've reminded me!ReplyDelete
Thanks, I'm adding it to my list. I've read The Book Thief three times, so I trust Markus Zusak if you know what I mean.ReplyDelete
I love both this and The Book Thief, but I think this one is a little closer to my heart, too. Great review!ReplyDelete
I loved this one too. I read The Book Thief first and was terrified that this one wouldn't be anywhere near as good, but it was wonderful in a completely different way. I'm so jealous you got to meet him and hear him speak. He's definitely an author I would go out of my way to hear.ReplyDelete
I haven't read the Book Thief or this one and while I think I will start with the Book Thief, I will remember to look for this one as well.ReplyDelete
It seems that I am one of the few persons around, who didn't like THE BOOK THIEF.. But maybe it was the German translation - but on the other hand I know many Germans who loved it..ReplyDelete
Possibly that I was expected to much from it.. :"(
err - "I was expecting to much" is what I wanted to say.. *sigh*ReplyDelete
I LOVED this book! Such a moving and inspiring story! This book was so hard for me to review because I just had so much to say about it! And that is awesome that you got your copy signed and got to listen to him! Jealous!ReplyDelete
I really liked this book also-I read and posted on it about a year ago-I have also read Getting the Girl and The Book Thief-I would have to say The Book Thief is a better deeper work but I do understand your personal affinity for I am the Messenger-I hope he has another book out soonReplyDelete
Oh I remember going and listening to him speak. He was awesome. So clever in how he spoke. I highly recommend to anyone if you ever have the opportunity, he is definitely worth listening to. I loved it and of course, I am grateful for your taking me with you. Love, MomReplyDelete
This is a really great book, I read it in high school and loved it.ReplyDelete
I think I remember you mentioning that book, and I'm highly intrigued by it. Is it fairly "appropriate" for teens? (i.e. could I use it in a classroom and not get put before the school board?)ReplyDelete
After reading (and loving) The Book Thief, I will definitely have to pick this up! What a fantastic token he wrote in the book.ReplyDelete
I agree that this one has been completely overshadowed by The Book Thief--in fact I haven't read it because I was always afraid about how it would compare. I think enough time has passed now that I should take it for a spin. How cool that you have a signed copy!ReplyDelete
I checked out the audio for this book to take on a trip, but let my sister, in another car, listen to it. So, I am anxious to read it! Thanks for the review.ReplyDelete
I see that you are reading A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, hope you enjoy Francie Nolan as much as I do. It's on my 100 Best Books list.