Thursday, 16 September 2010

BBAW - Forgotten Treasure

The idea for today is to share a title that was released under the radar (or possibly before the radar existed.)   This is my favourite meme for the week - keep 'em coming BBAW gals!  My choice was actually under my own radar :)

Sure we’ve all read about Freedom and Mockingjay but we likely have a book we wish would get more attention by book bloggers, whether it’s a forgotten classic or under marketed contemporary fiction. This is your chance to tell the community why they should consider reading this book!

I have to talk about Markus Zuzak.  He's an Aussie young adult literature author who has been highly praised for his work and for whom I was unaware of prior to my entry into YA blogging.  I felt (and still do) extremely foolish that I was that oblivious to such talent.

While everyone raves about The Book Thief, I wanted to talk about it's less discussed older brother.  You know the one that is set in present day Australia, kicks off with a bank robbery and has a mystery that will both entertain, wound and involve you?  It was a Printz Honor title for 2006?  Still nothing?


The Messenger was first released in 2002 by PanMacmillan and won the Children's Book Council of Australia Awards for Book of the Year: Older Readers - that's a big deal in Australia.

Four years later, Knopf Books for Young Readers released it onto the US market, retitled I Am The Messenger.  It received accolades but was almost immediately out shined by its newer, albeit awesome sibling.

The Premise:
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?


It is so Australian (but not in an alienating way for international readers) that I almost wept with homesickness.  It was like my brother had been realised on the page with slightly less drive.  The thing is....the premise doesn't share how fantastic Ed's voice is - how humorous, how dry, how involving.  It doesn't share the grit of his community or the complex nature of his interactions and feelings for Audrey.  It also doesn't share how amazingly screwed up his friends are - quite possibly the most self-destructive yet hilarious gang of mates I have ever read.

And so I present the book that was overshadowed but a behemoth.  Here are my thoughts on the book but I do recommend that you give it a-whirl.  It should be a wider read treasure.

15 comments:

Amy @ My Friend Amy said...

oh yay! I actually recently bought this at a book sale! :) Glad to know it has your endorsement!

Ladybug said...

I have heard about this book before(it might be that I read your review earlier on) and I think it sounds good. I have yet to read a book by Zusak.

Kay said...

Yay! This is one of my favorite books, so I am glad you chose it as your featured treasure. I had no idea it was "so Australian" (knowing next to nothing abut Australia) but I think this gives it extra charm :)

caitieflum said...

I have been in the middle of that book for a while. It isn't that I don't like it, I am just getting distracted by other books and since my husband and I own I am the Messenger, I dont feel the pressure to read it right away!

Creations by Laurel-Rain Snow said...

Wow, another wonderful treasure! Thanks for sharing....

Here's mine:

http://snowconnections.wordpress.com/2010/09/16/bbaw-forgotten-treasures/

Suey said...

Cool! I almost did this book! So yes, I agree! :) (This is one I really want to re-read, especially since Markus Zusak is taking forever on his next one.)

Zee said...

I loved The Book Thief so I will have to give this one a go, I love mysteries!

Chachic said...

I'm planning to read this one as soon as I finish reading my copy of The Book Thief. I just don't know when that's going to happen. :P

Meredith said...

I love this - I'm very familiar with The Book Thief, but less so with any of Zusak's other work. What a great idea for this meme too - take an author a lot of people might know, but highlight a lesser known work.

Shel said...

I absolutely LOVE I Am the Messenger. I read it at just the right time in my life. I love the way Ed is presented with multiple choices over becoming a hero.

Maw Books said...

Oh yes. I read and reviewed this one after reading The Book Thief. Great book!

Melissa said...

This one's been on my TBR list for a while, but (as I had a bad experience with the Book Thief, sssshhh, don't tell) I haven't gotten around to it. Perhaps I will, now.

S. Krishna said...

I read The Book Thief, but don't know much about I Am the Messenger. Thanks for the spotlight!

Audrey (holes In My brain) said...

"The gunman is useless."
:)

thanks for spotlighting this novel, I loved this one! and it certainly deserves more recognition!

Tribute Books said...

Thanks! for recommending.