Ed Kennedy is an underage cabdriver without much of a future. He’s pathetic at playing cards, hopelessly in love with his best friend, Audrey, and utterly devoted to his coffee-drinking dog, the Doorman. His life is one of peaceful routine and incompetence until he inadvertently stops a bank robbery.
That’s when the first ace arrives in the mail.
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?
The Messenger is quite unique – the main character is positioned as a pathetic person (to be honest, Ed is kind of a low-life with no hope of achieving anything great in his life), but he’s a very likeable character. He has a job he doesn’t like, a girl who has friendzoned him, and a mother who is horrible to him. And then he’s mistakenly represented as a ‘hero’ to society, when he was anything but.
The storyline is different and the writing is punchy. It’s easy to read a chunk of the novel at a time, and you become interested in who is sending Ed Kennedy these cards.
This novel does seem to subtly touch on some serious adult issues – rape, abuse – but is primarily a young adult novel. I feel that this is more a character-driven story instead of a plot-driven story. Sure, a lot is happening, but Ed’s decisions don’t always make sense. Why does he decide to help these people? You don’t ever feel like you understand that. Why won’t Ed do something about his crappy life? You don’t really understand that either. But Ed does seem to grow and mature over the course of the book, and come to terms with his less-than-ideal circumstances.
The Messenger is probably about 50-100 pages too long, but it’s still enjoyable and a fun read. Although the ending is not realistic or believable. When you find out who is sending Ed these cards, it doesn’t really make sense, and you don’t buy it. I think the author wanted it to be someone you didn’t expect, but it ended up being something that wasn’t a realistic choice.
This is not another The Book Thief – don’t pick up this book hoping for that. Your expectations will not be met.
My Score: 6/10