From the author of The Book Thief comes this darkly funny and ultimately uplifting thriller which proves that anyone can be extraordinary. Ed Kennedy is just your less-than-average Joe who is hopelessly in love with his best friend, Audrey. But after he single-handedly manages to catch a bank robber, he receives a playing card in the mail: the Ace ...
From the author of The Book Thief comes this darkly funny and ultimately uplifting thriller which proves that anyone can be extraordinary. Ed Kennedy is just your less-than-average Joe who is hopelessly in love with his best friend, Audrey. But after he single-handedly manages to catch a bank robber, he receives a playing card in the mail: the Ace of Diamonds. This is the first message. Four more will follow. But before this particular card game can end, Ed will be changed forever...Will Audrey love the man he has become?
It is the story of everybody's life if we take life seriously.
Nov 7, 2013
The books plot has many twists and turns and builds the characters so you can identify with them. The ending ties everything togeter very well.
Jan 20, 2009
entertaining and suspenseful
I had a feeling about this book in the store--that sudden understanding that I would either really love it, or really hate it. I took a chance for the positive, and that chance paid off. I've never read anything by Zusak before; he's a talented writer, with a sharp ear for dialogue and a quick wit. The lead character is highly relatable, an everyman schlub caught between teenage angst and adult pragmatism. I like the way Zusak builds from one assignment to the next. I like the way Ed's eyes and understanding open mission by mission.
***Kinda spoiler-y*** As Ed grew to understand his life as a messenger, I couldn't help but think that what he is learning is the whole purpose of life (or pretty close to it). Ed has to watch the houses and the people in order to know what needs to be done. He can't just waltz in and out of their lives. He has to connect on a personal level. Ed shows us the meaning of friendship, family, and community, by taking part in the lives of those around him.
A few things make me hesitate to recommend it completely: For one thing, there is far too much swearing. I don't like it, though the writing is good enough that I overlooked it this time (I've been known return books to the store unfinished). Also -- and here's another BIT OF SPOILER, so skip to the end if you don't want to know -- I didn't like the meta-reference ending; it made the story feel suddenly like a sermon. Good point, Zusak, I got it, no need to point to it with neon.
Overall: stylish, smart, fun, mysterious, and thought-provoking.
Jan 15, 2009
Couldn't Put This Book Down!
This book was unusually delightful. It is full of suspence, while it makes you think how an ordinary life can be transformed by helping others. This is a good book, and Markus Zusak is a talented writer. If you enjoyed this book then you must read Markus Zusak's, 'Book Theif' One of my all time favorites!
Publishers Weekly, 2005-01-17 Australian cabdriver Ed Kennedy is 19, aimlessly lurching into adulthood when he thwarts a bank robbery in the hilarious opening scene of this gritty, gripping and ultimately romantic mystery. Ed's 15 minutes of fame set his life in a new direction: he begins receiving playing cards with cryptic clues, such as addresses or names unknown to him. Following these clues leads him to intervene in the lives of others. In the most chilling bit, a gun appears in his mailbox, which he assumes is intended for his use in dealing with a man who is brutalizing his wife. The assignments don't get more violent but they do get more personal, such as those involving Ed's mother, "one of those tough women you couldn't kill with an axe,"and his lovable misfit mates-Ritchie, Marv and Audrey. Zusak takes the subtleties of family dynamics, previously examined in his Fighting Ruben Wolfe and Getting the Girl, to a new level here. As the novel progresses, even Ed's unsympathetic parents take on three dimensions. The author artfully pulls readers through the many plot twists, building to a startling revelation. The metafictional ending may strike some readers as a shortcut, but it's sure to spark discussion, and readers will remember the characters long after they close the book. Even Ed's rank-smelling dog, The Doorman, is well-drawn. Graphic situations (both violent and sexual) mark this as a book for more sophisticated readers. Don't start this compulsively readable book without enough time to read it straight through to the final page. Ages 12-up. (Feb.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Publishers Weekly, 2006-12-11 Two Aussie slackers stumble into a bank robbery, and inadvertently prevent it, bickering about their jalopy all the while. One of them, Ed Kennedy, a 19-year-old taxi driver, soon receives mysterious playing cards in the mail, and winds up taking on other, similarly baffling reclamation and assistance projects, prodded by an unknown guardian angel. Gray's reading accentuates Zusak's amusing tale with a series of comically elongated Aussie vowels for Ed's first-person narrative. Gray doesn't quite sound like a teenager-his diction is too precise, too well-studied for that-but he captures something of the broad humor and lackadaisical good cheer of late adolescence. Zusak's book mingles drama and comedy admirably, and Gray nimbly shifts gears-far more fluidly than that jalopy ever could. Ages 12-up. (Oct.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Publishers Weekly, 2006-05-01 In our Best Books citation, PW called this tale of a teenage Australian cabdriver who thwarts a bank robbery and sets off an intricate chain of events "compulsively readable." Ages 12-up. (May) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
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