Cameron Wolfe's life gets very complicated when he falls for his brother's girlfriend in this winning, wise novel from the dynamic author of FIGHTING RUBEN. Editorial Reviews. From School Library Journal. Grade 9 Up - Nineteen-year-old cabbie Ed Look inside this book. I Am the Messenger by [Zusak, Markus]. Read I Am the Messenger PDF - by Markus Zusak Knopf Books for Young Readers | By the author of the #1 New York Times bestseller The.
|Language:||English, Spanish, Indonesian|
|Genre:||Politics & Laws|
|ePub File Size:||30.70 MB|
|PDF File Size:||13.45 MB|
|Distribution:||Free* [*Regsitration Required]|
“Damn right I am!” He points the gun. “There's no need to be that hostile.” Oh God , I think. Marv's gone now. He's about to get shot in the throat. The gunman. For Scout Special thanks to Baycrew, the NSW Taxi Council, and Anna McFarlane for her expertise and commitment. part. DON'T MISS BRIDGE OF CLAY, MARCUS ZUSAK'S FIRST NOVEL SINCE THE BOOK THIEF AND AN UNFORGETTABLE AND SWEEPING FAMILY SAGA.
Marv called me a first-class whinger. Something he was blinded to before the cards started arriving. The flyscreen door is torn at the edges. The whole bank knows it. Nobody can disagree with that, and yet
Moving on. My favourites were, however, the ones with an air of tragedy arou— ed: Who's tragic? Look who's talking! Did you enjoy holding that gun to the guy's head and shooting? How about beating up that Rose kid?? My butt could be bleeding now!! Friendships can be complicated. Family relations can be complicated. Enmities can be complicated—no wait. They are all complicated.
And the author captures that so perfectly you'd think he's a magician. No kidding he probably is. Tradition can be a dirty word, especially around Christmas. For an hour, they endure each other. After that, they just manage to stomach each other. None of them felt paper-thin or paper-limited. They were all very real, right before my eyes: One last word and farewell: God says nothing. I laugh and the stars watch. Companions Book playlist: View all 51 comments. Feb 03, Mario rated it it was amazing Shelves: The Book Thief is one of my favorite books ever if not my favorite book ever , then how is it possible that I loved I Am the Messenger even more?
This book is just I'm not really good at putting my thoughts into words so I know that nothing I could ever say will bring this book justice but that still won't stop me from trying. First of all, it took me a long time to read th Sometimes people are beautiful. First of all, it took me a long time to read this book, but it wasn't the books fault. I had to study for a test to get into college I got accepted, YAY! But even that didn't stop me from enjoying this book completely. I think if I had the time I would finish it in one sitting.
At the beginning, I thought that I was reading just an ordinary book, with ordinary characters and their ordinary lives. But now, that I've finished it, I can say that this book is anything but ordinary. It made me laugh, it made me tear up, it made me angry, and at the ending it left me feeling emotionally drained, but also really happy if that makes any sense.
It really touched me, and made me think about things that I and a lot of us just take for granted. I can't count the times when I've read a quote from this book that made me stop reading and just think about it for a few seconds.
And the ending is the reason that I ended up liking this book even more than the The Book Thief. I'm not gonna say anything about the ending, except that it blew my mind and that I still get goosebumps thinking about it. So I think that's enough from me, cause I feel like if I continue I'll start getting emotional, and I wouldn't want that.
So in conclusion, amazing book that will stick with me for the rest of my life, and that I will definitely come back to more than once. View all 23 comments. Apr 14, Shelly rated it it was amazing Shelves: Plus it's popular with some friends, and I'm a follower like that. Anyway, I had to force myself to turn it off today so that I would have something to look forward to tomorrow.
I'm halfway through. The story and the reader's voice are mesmerizing! Don't want it to end. Review starts here: There's a series on PBS about these doctors--it may even be called "The Doctors," can't remember --anyway it's a documentary that follows a handful of Harvard Medical students from their first days in the classroom, to residency, to their eventual careers. I haven't seen each episode but my boyfriend was telling me how one of the students went on to become an ophthalmologist and would go to third world countries to examine people and hand out glasses every chance he got.
He the doctor also confessed to being lonely because he worked so much and went on to talk about how when he retires he wants to travel and distribute more glasses. My reaction was that a lot people who recognize where there is a need somewhere see it as something so overwhelming that even if they were to do something THAT something wouldn't be enough so they choose to do nothing or, at least I tend to feel that way.
Whereas this guy is working hard and when the time comes for him to stop working and take some time for himself and his family all he can think about is all the people out there whose lives would be improved if they just had a new pair of glasses. So simple. God bless him. You don't have to be great to do good, you just have to do it. The story's protagonist, Ed Kennedy, is as the book emphasizes an ordinary 19 year old guy.
He has no special skills, or talents.
He's not really strong, or really funny, or really good at math. He's a cabbie who plays cards with his friends and has had a crush on the same girl since he sprouted his first pube but is way too passive and laid-back to do anything about it, like, for example, move on when it's not reciprocated. Ed's Mom is a complete nag who makes it clear to him that she prefers his siblings to him and that she expects nothing more from him than for him to fuck up.
Yet Ed, like most ordinary 19 year olds, doesn't dwell on his unfortunate relationship with his mother. Or the unfortunate state of affairs that are his life.
But the unfortunate byproduct of Ed's unfortunate obliviousness to the reality of the world around him is that Ed is missing out on the big things. Like he says at one point "Big things are just the small things you notice. Much like The Ghost of Christmas Past or Earl's list of bad deeds he must apologize for in the name of Karma, an outside source enters Ed's life to help lead him off the road of mediocrity and onto the road of good deeds.
Ed's messages from an ominous stranger come in the form of playing cards in his mailbox with cryptic clues written on the back that Ed then must decipher and act upon.
Ed has no clue who's behind the cards, or what the purpose of all this is but he carries on, unwittingly improving the lives of all the other ordinary people around him and in the process coming to understand himself, his mother, his friends and the girl who is the object of his desire on a deeper level.
What I loved so much about this book, aside from the writing and the characters and the setting and the suspense and the emotion, was that despite the novel's outlandishness, Ed's achievements and his impact on others is completely believable. You know that there is nothing significant about Ed. He has no superpowers, his acts of goodness were not preordained. Yet you don't doubt for a second that Ed's simple deeds make his world a better place. This story is sweet and thrilling and captivating and inspiring.
I have no idea what makes it a "Young Adult" book and I refuse to be embarrassed for liking it so much. Unlike "The Hills" which is clearly young adult and something any person over the age of 21 should be embarrassed to admit to liking.
Fucking Spencer! What an asshole! View all 14 comments. Jul 27, Jackie "the Librarian" rated it it was amazing Recommends it for: I threw this book across the room, and then I picked it back up, held it at arms length, and shook my head at it.
And then I thought about the way it held me in suspense, how it kept the kids in my teen book group reading and thinking, and I dusted it off and gave it a hug. Markus Zusak, you bastard! What has me reacting like a schizophrenic? Why, I can't tell YOU. That would spoil the book for you, and you really should read it. The basic plot is, a guy stops a bank robbery, gets written up in t I threw this book across the room, and then I picked it back up, held it at arms length, and shook my head at it.
The basic plot is, a guy stops a bank robbery, gets written up in the local paper, and then gets a mysterious message in the mail. It's the ace of hearts, I think, and with it is three addresses.
No explanatory note, nothing. He checks out the addresses, and at each one, there's a situation that needs some help. A girl runner needs encouragement, an immigrant family needs some Christmas cheer, a woman is being abused by her husband.
Now, this guy is just a cab driver with no ambition, so he doesn't really want to get involved And, there are 3 more aces to go. Hope so. View all 10 comments. Feb 20, Kim rated it really liked it Shelves: Stamp it on my forehead, folks.
I'm here, I'm a blubbering fool, get used to it. I didn't have high expectations going into this novel, I'd heard it wasn't as good as 'The Book Thief' pfft But, I finished it in 7 hours and what can I say? I'm not a stupid sap. I could see the formula I knew what was coming. But, the writing makes up for it. Plus, a year-old-suffering-from-low-self-esteem-who-has-a-severe Stamp it on my forehead, folks. Plus, a year-old-suffering-from-low-self-esteem-who-has-a-severe-case-of-unrequited-love-that-is-moved-enough-by-circumstances-presented-to-him-that-he-does-whatever-he-can-to-improve-their-situations??
With lines like this: It didn't change my lifebut it gave me a nice reprieve. Okay, my groupie side is showing. Bring it on Sep 09, Kassidy rated it really liked it Shelves: Markus Zusak does not disappoint! I love the message in this book and it leaves such a powerful impact! View 2 comments.
It's been months since I read this, so bear with me. But nonetheless, I still remember this book pretty clearly so hopefully it's not a problem. Anyway, so basically Honestly, I put off reading this book for a long time. I love The Book Thief so much that I was a little afraid to read more of Zusak's work just because my standards for his writing were set so ridiculously high.
But, I shouldn't have worried, because I Am the Messenger is also s It's been months since I read this, so bear with me. But, I shouldn't have worried, because I Am the Messenger is also super-duper amazing.
Is it as phenomenal as The Book Thief? Eh, I don't know. It's hard to compare the two, since they're so drastically different. But this one was definitely just as powerful and unforgettable.
I've come to believe that Markus Zusak is just a magical writing god and that everything he touches turns to gold. He makes me want to throw my own writing in a fire.
His writing is just so fantastic and his characters are so real It's just not fair. I just can't I'm actually going to review this book now. I Am the Messenger is the story of year-old Ed Kennedy, an underage cab driver who basically just plays cards and sucks at romance, and essentially isn't going anywhere in life. Then one day, by chance, he ends up stopping a bank robbery Ed begins receiving playing cards with addresses written on them——and soon finds that he is being sent all over town to people who need his help.
The question is, who is sending these cards and why have they chosen Ed? Because, it just is. Altogether, it's a pretty feel-good and uplifting story about the simple goodness of human nature, and about how the smallest actions can really change people's lives. But, don't get me wrong; this isn't the " Pay It Forward " type of corny it sounds like. First of all, Ed is no "Gary Stu" of a character. He's sarcastic, he messes up, he makes mistakes So, it's not like he's some kind of magical guardian angel; he's conflicted about a lot of the things he has to do, and nervous to get involved in some people's lives——because he has to get involved in some pretty intense stuff.
Basically, you just have to experience it. I found it to be really wonderfully written and executed, perfectly paced, hilarious, tragic, compelling, hopeful, believable Ahhh, it's just gorgeous. I give it an easy 5 stars and a standing ovation.
I buddy read this with Vane! Click here to see her review. The story is moving, the message beautiful and the characters interesting and complex. It is also often very humorous and it ended up making me smile and even laugh many times. Do not go into this expecting it to be like The Book Thief, the two books are nothing alike and you will be disappointed. For those with an open mind however, I believe this book has quite a lot to s I buddy read this with Vane!
For those with an open mind however, I believe this book has quite a lot to say. The premise of the book intrigued me. We have Ed Kennedy, an ordinary year-old guy who finds himself in the middle of a bank robbery along with his three best friends. After the incident his life changes dramatically when Ed finds a mysterious playing card in his letter box with three addresses on it. From here on out, Ed acts as a messenger, delivering to each and every person on the playing card what they need.
The novel starts off with one of the best first chapters I have ever read: That scene was hilarious, full of intrigue and made me curious as to what the rest of the novel would bring. Unfortunately, the book never again reached that high mark of suspense but it was entertaining nonetheless. One of the best things about the story for me was Ed. I loved him as a main character. Some might find him a little too self-deprecating to be likable but I personally could empathize with him so much. I felt his pain and understood what he was going through.
He is ordinary, average, has no special talents, no great ambitions, no grand accomplishments. At 19, he believes that he has already come as far as he can go. While people around him do great things and have awesome jobs, his life has come to a stop.
He is just living, never really changing. Seeing the confidence he gained with every delivered message was beautiful and I loved following his development throughout the story. I also liked the other character and their relationships with one another.
The scenes that featured Marv, Ritchie, Audrey and Ed together were my favorites. Some well-established, realistic friendships there that made me laugh out loud more than once. Both Marv and Ritchie were complex and fleshed out, Audrey less so. In fact, she may have been my least character in the story. The way Zusak made him a real character within the novel was fantastic. Ultimately, I think the reason you should read this book, the reason I recommend it, is its message. Sometimes we all need a reminder that anyone, no matter how ordinary you think you are, can do something extraordinary.
Every one of us can do something to help another person as long as we believe we can. Additionally, there are also some beautiful quotes in here that I want everyone to read. It's not a big thing, but I guess it's true--big things are often just small things that are noticed. And this Sometimes people are beautiful. I mean wow, I want to frame that last one and hang it on my wall.
I did have a few issues with the story. Then there was the writing, which I had some conflicting feelings about. Zusak does this thing where he sometimes spaces out sentences and makes them into an entire paragraph.
I prefer books to be more subtle. One last remark that I want to mention is the question of righteousness. Whenever something like this happens in a story, I just find myself questioning what is right and wrong. Because who are we to decide what message needs delivering?
Who are we to decide how someone else should live? Who are we to pass judgment? Despite my complaints I still recommend this book. View all 22 comments. Dec 21, Scarlet rated it it was amazing Shelves: So despite the general hilarity of the book, which had me in splits before the first chapter was even up, a small part of me was subconsciously waiting for the other shoe to drop — waiting for the tears and the heartbreak I was so sure would come.
And it never ca 4. And it never came - well, not in the way I expected. The tears I cried were happy tears and the parts that stabbed my heart didn't really break it, just pricked it enough to make me feel a weird mix of happy and sad. In that respect, I am the Messenger is utterly different from The Book Thief - it won't make you curl up in bed and cry your eyes out. But that doesn't mean it's any less magnificent a book.
I am the Messenger tells the story of Ed - who, in his own words, is "nineteen, a cab-driver, with no real career, no respect in the community, nothing" - the utmost epitome of ordinariness. Until a bank holdup gets in the way.
Ed starts receiving Aces in his mail directing him to people he must deliver messages to - only, Ed must figure out the message himself. This book is a delightful mix of the weird and the wonderful, with a few pensive moments here and there. So many things that Ed does are ordinary view spoiler [like buying an ice-cream for a young mother hide spoiler ] , yet they tug at your heartstrings in a way that's extraordinary. The writing is The sentence lands between us like a ball with no air in it.
I also fear that nothing really ends at the end. My voice is like a rumor. The way the book ends It catches you off-guard and takes its own sweet time to really sink in. But God, I loved it!! This book makes me believe that maybe, I too can live beyond what I'm capable of: View all 33 comments. Jul 12, Ryan rated it liked it Shelves: As enjoyable as it was, it is nowhere near as incredible as The Book Thief was. But did I really care? Markus Zusak has such a way with words. He makes you feel the story, and the words, as if they were tangible things, and I love that.
The words never feel empty, never like nothing more than ink on a pa 3. The words never feel empty, never like nothing more than ink on a page. Anyone who can do that has my respect. I'm not sure if he ever will. Who the hell am I to decide, Audrey? I didn't sob like I did in The Book Thief, but I did go from sad, to happy, to melancholy, to laughing in a matter of thirty pages. Pathetic cardplayer. People die of broken hearts. They have heart attacks. And it's the heart that hurts most when things go wrong and fall apart.
It makes sense, but I was disappointed in how it all wrapped up. Honestly, when I finished the book, I threw it down onto my bed, and left the room. I understand why Zusak ended it the way he did, and I didn't entirely hate it, but I just wanted more. More of an explanation, more of a conclusion. I probably would've given this a solid four stars, had that had happened. I would still recommend this book, regardless of the little things I disliked.
It's book that should be read because of its message. View all 7 comments. Oct 31, Kristijan rated it it was amazing. Ubacujem moj review sa jednog drugog mesta D Ne zamerite: View all 4 comments. Dec 24, Hillary rated it did not like it. View all 36 comments. View 1 comment.
Nov 24, K rated it did not like it Shelves: Maybe I'm allergic to Markus Zusak's writing? What he intends as quirky, inspiring, and heartwarming, my brain interprets as affected, cliche, and grossly manipulative. In this novel, an underachieving 19 year old begins receiving cards directing him to various troubled individuals around town.
I guess then this book is for people who are NOT afraid to love, and highly un-recommended for readers overly suspicious of false uplift. View all 9 comments. View all 8 comments.
Jul 05, Sandra rated it really liked it. You are such an unbelievably talented writer. I'm sure you already know that. You write with so much passion. With so much thought in the words you use and how you use them. There was no crappy circumlocution which I hate by the way , there was just simple words that conveys a deeper meaning.
Zusak is indeed a magnificent storyteller. Also, how everyone is not just another somebody. Everything we do, will have a direct or indirect effect to those people around us. This was a lesson Ed the main character learned. He became a local hero after he accidentally stops the robber when he was trying to escape. After the said incident, he received the first ace on his mail.
With that was instructions, or more of addresses of places he should go. What they were for, he had no clue. He only started to get what the sender wants him to do, after he visted the first house. Ed becomes the messenger. But he was sure, that whoever sent him these aces made a mistake of choosing him.
He doesn't believe he could help the people he was sent to help.
He doesn't believe he could, because he couldn't even help himself. But there was no mistake, he was the right man for the job The question was Who sent them? He wasn't the brooding or panty-dropping type that are mostly on YA and NA books. He was plain. He was ordinary.
And he knows that. He hasn't done anything remarkable in his life I think Mr. Zusak's characterization of Ed was brilliant. You see him grow throughout the book. You see him struggle. You see him start to see the world with new eyes. It was beautiful. I see why he chose a character like Ed to portray the main role. He wanted to show his readers that you don't have to be somebody to make a difference.
You don't have to be rich, you don't have to be a successful person, you don't have to be popular - you just have to be the person who wants to make a difference.
And as the story unfolds itself, you will see that difference with Ed and to those people whose life he touched. Ed's voice was honest. You'll read about him feeling bad about himself not being able to do anything right - which I think most of us could relate to.
The Sender Oh boy. He was definitely a big surprise. My mouth was hanging open. I could not believe what Mr. Zusak did with him. You only meet the sender towards the end of the book. You'll meet him, but you'll have to guess who he is. At first, it would be unclear, because you've never met him.
But as you go and read everthing he has to say, you'll see what I mean. Maybe everyone can live beyond what they're capable of.
For me, this line right there, was the best lesson I got from this book. Towards the end, you'll realize that he made Ed the message, not the messenger. We are not just a somebody, we are all a someone. I hope that made sense. We may think that what we do, are insignificant to someone else, but that's not true.
We could affect other people's lives, for the better or for the worse, it is out choice. We have to make that choice. I know I didn't rate it a perfect 5, because of some reasons. Like there were times that I got bored, that I got upset with some of Ed's thoughts Not even worth mentioning really. I know it's silly but, I can't rate a book a perfect 5 if there were some things I didn't like about it. Hence, the 4 stars. However, the message of this book, was so pure.
Believe in what you can do. This book is an encouragement, for those people who are losing hope, for those who feel their life is going nowhere, for those who thinks their stuck on where they are, for those who feel that they couldn't help others because they couldn't even help themselves.
Ed was the perfect example of how this is not true. I did tear up a little bit towards the end. For those of you who have been following my reviews, I am a real cry baby when it comes to books like these. The only trouble is, I want more cards tonight. I think I know what I have to do for the old woman, and I make a bet with myself. I forget to knock and everyone laughs at me as I go to pick up. First card: Queen of Clubs.
Second card: Four of Hearts. Third card: Everyone wonders why I could possibly be smiling, except Audrey. Audrey winks at me. She knows without asking that I did it on purpose. The Ace of Diamonds is in my hand. This is much better than Edgar Street.
I pull out a decent shirt. The hero. You work here now? Tried to stick his tongue in my mouth the other day. When I was outside the shop, she called after me. And I was gone. I think about it briefly as I open the box and look at half a mud cake. The bastard. Just shithouse confidence. I give the cake a last examination. I smell good. I step over the Doorman and close the door behind me. The day is silver gray and cool as I walk over to Harrison Avenue. The grass on her front lawn is gold.
My feet crunch over it, like the sound of someone biting into toast. The roses are the only things alive, standing resolutely by the driveway. Her front porch is cement. Old and cracked, like mine.
The flyscreen door is torn at the edges. I open it and knock on the wood. The sound rhymes with my heartbeat. Her footsteps climb to the door. Her feet sound like the ticktock of a clock. Counting time to this moment. She stands. She looks up at me, and for a moment we both get lost in each other. She wonders who I am, but only for a split second.
Then, with stunning realization clambering across her face, she smiles at me. It trips out to find a wrinkle and follows it down. I knew it, I knew it. I follow. She chuckles. I can hear her mucking around in there, and I call out to see if she needs any help. She tells me I should just relax and make myself comfortable. The dining room and the kitchen both face the street, and as I sit at the dining room table, I see people walk past, rush past, and some wait for their dogs and move on.
Milla Johnson. When she comes back out, she brings a dinner identical to the one she had the previous day. Salad and soup and some tea. We eat, and she tells me all about her day-to-day travels. She has lunch at five to twelve. She sits in the park, watching the kids play and the skateboarders do their tricks and swerves at the skate bowl. She drinks coffee in the afternoon. She watches Wheel of Fortune at five-thirty. She has her dinner at six. Later on, she gives me a question. Milla comes back in, nervously sitting in her chair.
Her shaking hands reach out. To mine. They hold them and her pleading eyes open me. She returns my conviction, nodding.
I feel awful about it, of course. I ask myself what kind of person I am, worrying about missing out on a lousy piece of cake. Do you think? Will I see you again? The feeling of it gathers in me as I walk home, and when I see the Doorman, I pick him up and hold all forty-five kilos of him in my arms.
I kiss him, in all his filth and stench, and I feel like I could carry the world in my arms tonight. The Doorman looks at me with bemusement, then asks, How about a coffee, old son?
I put him down and laugh and make the old bludger a coffee, with plenty of sugar and milk. She gave me a nice drubbing when I finally turned up with it. I visit her on a Saturday morning. As usual. Probably someone from the Lions Club or something. I come closer to get a better look at what it is. Better off that way.
He bought himself an old cedar table in the city. Talked the guy down to three hundred and got the chairs half price. Unlike some people I know. Do you need anything? You can get the crushed hazelnuts for me. I like being Jimmy. She reaches out her hand and holds me by the arm. I love the sound of your voice. Whichever book I pick will be her favorite. She falls asleep on the lounge after a few pages, and I wake her and help her to bed.
It was just a normal thin piece of pad paper, all yellow and old. The date said 1. A bit like my own writing. It said: Dearest Milla, My soul needs yours. Love, Jimmy During the next visit, she gets out her old photo albums and we look through them. She constantly points out a man who holds her or kisses her or just stands there on his own.
Her fingertips are made of love. When she speaks, her voice is made of love. You always were the most handsome boy in town. All the girls said so. Even my mother told me how great you were, how loving and strong, and how I had to do good by you and treat you right. I melt and look her in her old but lovely eyes. You treated me right. She cries and cries and laughs. She shakes with such despair and joy, and her tears soak, nice and warm, through to my arm. She offers me mud cake after a while.
Would you like some, Jimmy? But the taste is perfect. A sound follows it, from inside. An uneasy feeling glides over me. I get up and step over the Doorman with great trepidation. The ring calls me toward it. I pick it up. All quiet. It finds it and says four words. I stagger back out to the porch. I answer yes, and when she stays later, I nearly tell her about Milla and Jimmy. I come so close to asking what she thinks about it all, but I already know the answers. That night, I go out walking with the Doorman, late.
We go down to the cemetery and see my father and wander through the rest of the graves. A flashlight hits us. Should he help me or not? He goes for yes. His memory is jogged. Well, we can give it a shot. Any idea when the poor old sap died? Shit, I think I know that one. I can tell. No other man has entered her life.
Not the way her Jimmy did. And now he has. Still, I have to move on. The next one is 6 Macedoni Street, 5: I go there once more, just to check that things are still the same. They are. I arrive with the sun on Macedoni Street, mid-October. I see the two-story house standing at the top. Just after five-thirty, a lone figure comes from around the side of the house.
It wears red athletic shorts, a hooded gray sweatshirt, but no shoes. I sit down between two parked cars, waiting for the figure to come back. She takes me by surprise because we both hit the corner together, from opposite directions. We both stop, momentarily. Her eyes land on me, only for a second.
She looks at me, and she has sunshine-colored hair in a ponytail and clear eyes, like water. Soft lips that form a gentle shape of recognition. And she keeps running. I can only watch as she tilts her head and turns away. Her legs are shaved, making me think I should have known earlier that it was a girl.
Skinny with a small but well-formed chest, long back, straight hips, and tall legs. Her bare feet are medium-sized, and they hit the ground lightly. I walk home and think about what she needs—what I need to deliver. She runs. It has to be. One day, I decide to progress the relationship and follow her. The girl strides. I struggle. When I started running, I felt like I was in the Olympic four-hundred-meter final.
I feel pitiful. My legs labor to lift and drag me forward. My lungs are starving. Still, I keep running. I have to. She goes to the edge of town to the Grounds, where the athletic field is. When we make it to the field, she jumps the fence, peeling off the sweatshirt to leave it hanging there. As for me, I stagger myself back to a walk and collapse under the shade of a tree. The girl does laps.
The world does laps around me. A dizziness circles me, and I need to throw up. Christ, Ed, I breathe. Even more than I thought. I know, I answer. I know.
If she sees me, she sees me. She stops for a while and stretches as the air finally breaks through to reach my lungs properly. Her right leg is up on the fence. Halfway through those thoughts, she notices me but looks immediately away. She tilts her head and sends her eyes to the ground. Exactly like the other morning. Just for that second.
I understand this as she takes the leg off the fence and changes to the other. When she stops stretching and reaches for her sweatshirt, I climb from the ground and make my way toward her. She begins to run but stops. She knows.
I look at her, and she looks at the ground about a yard or so from my right ankle. The stupidity of my voice feels beyond repair.
A breath. Her eyes are still focused on the ground beside me. I take one step. No more. It reminds me of Melanie Griffith. She looks back to me now and gives me the same look of recognition as the other day. I saw you nearly every day. I feel kind of uncomfortable. It tastes like strawberry on my lips. I watch her and hear her bare feet lightly touching the earth.
I like that sound. It reminds me of her voice. Every day, without fail. Her shyness made me worry about that. You guess what people say. You watch their mouths move and imagine the sounds of their feet hitting the ground. The strange thing I notice as I watch is that when a boy comes along and talks to the girls and walks with them, the running girl shifts back into the mode of looking to the ground.
I stand and wonder for a while and conclude that she probably just lacks confidence, like me. She probably feels too tall and gawky, not realizing how beautiful everyone knows she is.
At myself. How the hell would you know? I very much doubt it. I have no business plotting or predicting anything for this girl. A few times, I watch her house at night. Nothing happens. For some reason I imagine it to be something like Alison, but mostly I just think of her as the running girl. They all wear black shorts and a light blue tank top with a rectangular patch sewn on the back. I hear it in my mind and place the name carefully to her face.
It fits nicely. Not Edward, Edmund, Edwin. Just Ed. Sheer mediocrity feels nice for a change. Sophie sees me once she stands up, and a small piece of contentment finds itself on her face. She looks happy to see me, but she still turns from me almost straightaway.
She walks to the marshaling area with a pair of crappy old spiked shoes in her hand I assume the older kids are allowed to wear them in the longer races when her father calls out again.
Not from that distance.
She only gives me a quick glance and goes on. I know what I have to do now. A snack. I realize that for every good message, there will always be one that will agonize me. They run together, but at the end, the other girl finishes more strongly. Go, Annie! For the race he goes down to the fence and watches intently.
He yells nothing. Only watches. At times, I can sense some tension in him as he wills his daughter ahead of the other girl. When she wins, he applauds her, and he applauds Sophie, too.
When Sophie comes and stands next to her father, he puts his arm around her. Her disappointment is written heavily across her shoulders. Not to mention he was an alcoholic. My own father was a quiet man who never had a bad word for anyone. My ma would rant and rave and scream abuse at him for being out, but he never reacted.
He never told her off in return. In short, he looks like a gentleman. They walk back to the mother together and sit there on the hill. The father and mother hold hands as Sophie drinks one of those sports drinks. They look like the type of family who tell each other they love each other when they go to bed, and when they wake up, and before they go to work.
As they sit on the ground, I take a closer look at those shoes. The girl deserves better. The Doorman comes out and asks for some, but I give him a big pat instead. No one in their right mind would throw diamonds out, would they? If anything, they need protecting. Milla, I think. The woman on Edgar Street and her daughter, Angelina. Shaky as hell but nice as ever. Sophie loses again the next week at athletics, this time in the eight hundred. She needs something better to even come close to how she runs in the mornings.
Almost out of herself. Early next Saturday morning, I go to her house and knock on the door. Her father answers. The box is empty. She gets called for the fifteen hundred, and she goes barefoot. I smile at the thought of it. A few minutes later, her father approaches the fence. The race begins. The other dickhead starts yelling out. And Sophie gets tripped up on the back straight after a lap.
She falls among the lead group of five, and the rest of them stretch out, up to maybe twenty-five meters in front. When she gets back up, it reminds me of that bit in Chariots of Fire when Eric Liddell falls over and runs past everyone to win.
All she needs is the hood and the red pants. She goes past her and holds her with two hundred to go. Just like the mornings, I think, and people have stopped to watch. They saw her fall and stand and keep going. The discus has stopped, and the high jump. Everything has. All there is is the girl with the sunshine hair and the killer voice breathing and being in front. The other girl comes at her. She pushes for the lead. The last hundred meters nearly kill her.
I can see the pain tightening on her face. Her bare feet bleed on their way across the balding grass. She almost smiles from the pain—from the beauty of it. They run at the line. And the other girl wins. Like always. As they go over the line, Sophie collapses, and down there, on the ground, she rolls onto her back and looks up at the sky.
But on her face is the beauty of the morning, and for the first time, I think, she recognizes it: So have you. I want to hear her voice. From her left knee, it runs crookedly down her shin.
Her eyes are worth drowning in, and her mouth speaks to me. She lets herself look and be with me. A saint? I list what I am. Taxi driver. Local deadbeat. Cornerstone of mediocrity. Sexual midget. Pathetic cardplayer. I say my final words to her. It feels like the mornings clap their hands. To make me wake. In the mornings of my eyes, I see three things each time.
The first two hold me up with the rising of the sun. The third strips me and hands shivers to my skin and to my flesh and bones. I spend the late of each night watching repeats of Dukes of Hazzard. The big fat guy always sits there eating marshmallows at his desk.
I asked myself when I saw the first episode. Of course. God, Daisy looks fantastic in her tight jeans. The Doorman shoots me a dirty look every time. Beautiful women are the torment of my existence. The nights and Dukes pass by. I drive my cab with a headache that waits behind me. His words are like froth in my head, boiling, rising, and falling. He gives me the money and I thank him. I think. He slams the door hard. My head may as well have been in it. A feeling clutters me.
It makes me stand up and leave, almost without saying a word. The time has arrived, and I know I need to be standing outside that house at the end of Edgar Street—a house held up by the violence that occurs inside it almost every night.
Milla and Sophie. Now I have to face this. I turn onto Edgar Street, forming fists inside my jacket pockets. With Milla and Sophie, I always felt at ease. They were the nice ones. There was practically no risk involved, unlike here, where all the answers seem to be painful ones. For the wife and the girl and for the husband. And me. Waiting, I pull a forgotten piece of chewing gum from my pocket and put it in my mouth. It tastes like sickness, like fear.
The feeling escalates when the man comes down the road and walks up the porch steps. Silence moves closer then. It clips me, pushing past. It happens. The violence interferes. It sticks its fingers into everything and tears it open. It all comes apart, and I loathe myself for waiting this long to end it. I despise myself for taking the easy options night after night. Paperback —. Buy the Audiobook Download: Apple Audible downpour eMusic audiobooks.
Also by Markus Zusak. Product Details. Inspired by Your Browsing History. Related Articles. Looking for More Great Reads? Download our Spring Fiction Sampler Now.
Download Hi Res.