Books · Uncategorized

A Book Review: I Am the Messenger

The following is a book review by The Ameri Brit Mom. This post expresses the genuine opinion and experiences of The Ameri Brit Mom and is in no way endorsed by authors, publishers, and outside influences.

Title: I Am the Messenger

Author: Markus Zusak

Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf

Copyright Date: 2005


One of my favorite books of all time is The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. I’ve read the book three or four times on my own and have actually taught it in my classroom before as well. Aside from a great plot and character development that book stands out  to me because of the literary style of Zusak. He is known for his short sentences which create a sense of urgency and fast pace for the reader. His sentences may be short, but he can pack so much into so few words.

My love for Zusak’s work has put I Am Messenger on my to-read list for years. I’ve told myself I’d eventually get to reading this stand alone novel of Zusak’s. I’d read many reviews ahead of time giving this book mixed reviews, and so my fear was that by reading this book it may change my mind about Zusak. I’m here to tell you that I am so glad that I finally bit the bullet and gave this dust-gatherer on my shelf a read.

I Am the Messenger is a book about Ed Kennedy.

Ed is average in every sense of the word. He is a young cab driver who lives alone with his dog, Doorman. Ed’s circle of friends enjoy gathering to drink and play cards, but he is terrible at the game and attends mostly for the company. Additionally, one of the friends is Audrey, a girl that Ed is in love with, but who has rejected him a number of times. Everything about Ed is common until he witnesses a bank robbery and by chance helps to apprehend the culprits.

From that moment on things really begin to change in Ed’s life.

One at a time, Ed receives Aces in the mail. First the diamonds, then clubs, spades,  and finally hearts. On each of the cards Ed finds the names of complete strangers or locations. At first Ed has no clue what is going on and nearly throws the first card in the trash. Time passes and with the names on his mind Ed begins to investigate these people. He is led to places where help is needed desperately.

From abusive husbands to a priest with a waning congregation Ed is led through a series of tasks and fulfills his role in helping those he was assigned to by the cards. Some of the jobs are easier than others. But in the end Ed follows the commands of the cards.

All is going well in Ed’s quest to help the world as prescribed by the aces until the instructions lead him to problems much closer to home. In the process Ed learns that the people around him are not as ordinary as he thought.

Ed begins to see the world differently and recognize his purpose.

Ed is not average. No one is. We all have the power to be the Messenger.

photo credit:


A Book Review: I’ll Give You the Sun

The following is a book review by The Ameri Brit Mom. This post expresses the genuine opinion and experiences of The Ameri Brit Mom and is in no way endorsed by authors, publishers, and outside influences. 


Title: I’ll Give You the Sun

Author: Jandy Nelson

Publisher: Dial Books

Copyright Date: 2014

The Sweetwine family is full of secrets. This down-to-Earth and modern family seems to be like every other family in their coastal California town until events begin to shake their family to the core. Dianna, an art enthusiast and writer shares her passion for beautiful art with her twin children, Jude and Noah, although Noah seems to possess more of the gift than Jude.

Noah has some secrets of his own that he has buried deep within himself. At age thirteen Noah sneaks over to the CSA (California School of Art) to participate in some of their technique classes. From his days watching the classes from outside the window he begins to notice his feelings for some of the male models. At first Noah tries to hide who he is and fears what others may think if they were to find out that he was gay. By age sixteen something has happened to turn Noah off to art completely. His days dreaming of enrolling in CSA have gone and he spends most of his time with his girlfriend jumping off cliffs into the unforgiving ocean.

Jude was always the wild one. She knew that Noah was the apple of her mother’s eye so she sought after the attention of her athletic father. Taking to the surf and dressing in minimal apparel Jude seeks affection in all the wrong places. Something happens, however, and she trades in her surf boards for all of the superstitions of her grandmother. She begins to live her life cautiously and begins to boycott boys altogether. Once enrolled in CSA, she is assigned to apprentice a stone carver and he helps to chisel away the broken pieces and indirectly reunites the siblings.

This story is a heart warming tale of the bonds formed between members of the same family. Although things come between the Sweetwine’s they begin to forgive and love yet again. This book deals with so many modern issues: grief, divorce, homosexuality…etc. and brings hope as the characters face these issues. The therapy of art is another strong theme throughout this book and is a brilliant coping mechanism used by both Jude and Noah.

I really enjoyed this book. My favorite books are ones in which you begin to sympathisize with the characters and all of the members of the Sweetwine family were so beautifully described that I felt at times like I was Jude and at others like I was Noah. The story is told from the twins’ perspectives. Noah describes the earlier years (ages 13-14) and Jude describes the present (age 16). The suspense of the novel comes from knowing things that one twin may not know that once spoken will heal their broken relationship. Each can only see one side of the story, but it is important to look at life through more than just one perspective. Secrets can tear people and families apart. This story is about not hiding the truth and letting love win.