ImageWe’ll be discussing “I Am The Messenger” by Markus Zusak at the next meeting of the All Good Books Club on Thursday, February 14, 2013 at 7:00 pm at the Leawood Pioneer Library (4700 Town Center Drive, Leawood, KS).

 As I’ve been re-reading the book, I’ve also been making notes and forming questions (if nothing else it helps me remember topics I’d like to discuss). So here are some possible topics for discussion. I’ve only re-read through page 235, so the questions cover that portion of the novel. I’ll post more later if I have time.

  1. Why do you think the bank robber spent all night crying in jail? Page 38.
  2. On page 39, the bank robber threatens Ed Kennedy saying “You’re a dead man.” What did he mean?
  3. On page 66 Ed makes some assumptions about Sophie before he knows her name or has ever met her. How accurate is he?
  4. How did you react to the two fathers in “the race” (Sophie vs. Annie) on page 68? Any thoughts on amateur athletics?
  5. What does Ed give Sophie? Is he a “saint” or “just another stupid human?” Page 74.
  6. What did you think of the ssignment on Edgar Street? Were you surprised or happy that Ed was “frozen with fear” and couldn’t help the little girl on Edgar Street? What are your reactions to the final outcome? Was there a better resolution? Why did Ed have to take physical action? What about Gavin Rose and Ed’s violent solution to that assignment? Would you have written that episode differently as the author?
  7. Ed says “it’s the spades that worry me most….The Ace of Spades scares me – always has” after receiving the first card (Ace of Diamonds). Why do you think the spades scare him? Page 99.
  8. What was the meaning of the second card, the Ace of Clubs and the “stones of home?” Page 113. Why were the recipients of the Ace of Club’s activity chosen; that is, Father O’Reilly, Angie Carusso (page 171) and Gavin Rose? Any relationship to the name of the card that led Ed to them?
  9. Ed complains to Audrey (page 119) about being “chosen.” Why? Do you think that’s a common feeling among those who view themselves as chosen to serve?
  10. How would you describe Ed Kennedy at the beginning of the book? Do you agree with his self-assessment on page 136 and 139? Do you agree that early in the book no one knows Ed very well (page 140)? If so, where are the “cards” coming from? How would you describe him at the end after his journey through the “cards?”
  11. What do you think of where Father O’Reilly lives versus where his church is located? Does it make sense that his home is not adjacent to the church? What does that say in general about religious folks? Page 143.
  12. Father O’Reilly says to Ed (when Ed isn’t sure why he’s been led to the Father) “Don’t worry….What you need to do will certainly arrive in you.” Has that ever happened to you? Page 144.
  13. Describe the night that Marv and Ed go out to “advertise” the special Sunday service at Father O’Reilly’s church. Why is it so special for Marv and Ed? Page 154-155.
  14. Father O’Reilly refers to “countless saints who have nothing to do with church and almost no knowledge of God. It’s the second time Ed is referred to as a saint. Reactions?
  15. After Ed received the Ace of Spades, he walks away from Marv and thinks “I think he (Marv) finally understands that what’s important to him doesn’t have to be to me.” Is that a sign of true friendship?
  16. How are the dream Ed has after receiving the Ace of Spades and the “Barren Woman” poem related? What clue does it give to his next assignment?
  17. After everything Ed has been through (see page 206) does he deserve something for himself, since he’s been the messenger to help so many others?
  18. After picking up all the books from the library (page 212), Ed commented, “I didn’t know words could be so heavy.” What did Ed mean and what did the author mean?
  19. Most of the acts by Ed were small acts of kindness (ice cream for Angie Carusso, Christmas lights for the Tatupu family, spending time with Milla). Ed thinks after the Christmas lights event that “It’s about…small things that are big” (page 221). Is there a message in the mundaneness of his good deeds?
  20. Do you agree that “Sometimes people are beautiful?” What did Ed mean? What do you mean by your answer?
  21. After Lua learns that Ed never lived in the Tatupu home, he prefers not to “ruin things with any more questions.” Do you believe that often “what it is is what it is” and there’s no reason to pursue the last shred of explanation?  Can you do that or does curiosity get the best of you? Page 228.
  22. Did you guess, even for a moment from whom the messages (playing cards) were coming? Was it a surprise or not?
  23. There appears to be some link between the suite of the card and the actions required to complete the tasks. But since I’m not a card player I see only the obvious links or symbolism. Is there something a non-card player would miss in the symbolism or rational for the cards Ed was delivered and why certain cards where delivered in the order and with the instructions they held?