Zusak, Markus "The Messenger" (US: I am the Messenger) - 2002
A couple of years ago, I read "The Book Thief" with my book club and really loved it. Not just me, the other book club members were also full of praise. I always thought that was the author's first book but that is not the case and when I found out, I had to read at least one more of his books. And this will probably not be my last one, either. Because I loved this even more.
We get to know Ed Kennedy and his friends, all more or less "losers" who don't have a brilliant future in their lives. Ed's siblings went to university, he is a taxi driver with not formal education. His friends are in similar situations. That's when Ed becomes "The Messenger".
I loved all the messages he had to deliver, they were compassionate and showed a lot of empathy. And that's how I came to love Ed, as well. What a wonderful young man. And most of the recipients of the messages are wonderful, as well. We learn that we can help others just by being there, lending an ear, buying them an ice cream … It doesn't need much to be the hero in someone else's life and we don't always need a reward for that, either. The book itself contains a great message.
* * *
From the back cover:
"protect the diamonds
survive the clubs
dig deep through the spades
feel the hearts
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?"