I have to admit, this book was hard for me to read. It was challenging to read the examples of the people surrounding Ed and how blatantly in need they were. At one point one of his friends notice that he is changing and they ask him if he is ok. He responds simply no. He can’t live the same life that he has been living. He is profoundly impacted by the truth of other people’s realities.
On top of that, what the messages he is being asked to deliver to these people are often hard to understand for him and them. He says,
I hope for a moment that they both understand what they’re doing and what they’re proving.
I want to tell them, but I realize that all I do is deliver the message. I don’t decipher it or make sense of it for them. They need to do that themselves.
I can only hope they’re capable as I make my way home. . .
In some cases, it is quite clear how his attention changes the people with whom he comes into contact, but in other cases, there is no real resolution to the story line. Do their lives really change? Did he make a difference? He doesn’t know. He just knows that he has to keep delivering the messages until there are no messages sent.
If you want to look at those who surround you with new eyes, and you want to see them for who they truly are, Zusak makes you question yourself and your community.