Study Guide

I Am the Messenger Tone

By Markus Zusak

Tone

Matter-of-Fact, Funny

You don't have to get beyond the second chapter to know that Ed Kennedy will tell it like it is… even when you don't want to know. He's upfront with us that he's got no career, doesn't know what he's doing in life, and ahem, isn't very good in bed—and if that's not honest, then we're not sure what is. Right away, he tells us:

I play cards at least a few nights a week. It's what we do. (1.2.2)

Bam—no beating around the bush with Ed. He's as simple and matter-of-fact as a narrator can be when it comes to recounting his story, and doesn't shy away from describing moments both big and small that he feels guilty about or regrets. So he's as open about kissing Audrey when he shouldn't as he is about not stopping the rape of the woman on Edgar Street.

We get to hear Ed's thoughts about the people he meets and go inside his reactions to getting each card, and luckily for us, this often happens with a funny twist. It isn't so much that Ed himself is funny as that he sees the humor in life, so instead of sulking when his mom calls him an idiot, he laughs about it. This ability to take things with a grain of salt both makes us feel close to him and keeps things from getting too heavy in a book that often addresses pretty tricky stuff.

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