This book is set in a big city in Australia. This is just one of the many things that makes it interesting - the language is just a little different, same with customs.
Ed Kennedy is 19 and very much aware of how little he has going for him. After all, both Salvador Dali and Bob Dylan were well on their way by the time they were his age. Ed? His little brother's a star at university. Ed himself is a reader, but has no hopes of going any further in school. He's lied about his age in order to get a job as a cab driver. His dad has died, an alcoholic. His chain-smoking mother wants him to do plenty of favors for her, but really doesn't care about him.
Ed's out of the house, at least, living in a crummy little house with his huge and loveable but extremely smelly dog. He has a small circle of close friends. Marv's so obsessed with saving money that he drives a car that won't start nine times out of ten. Ritchie can't get it together enough to find a job. Audrey's a lovely thing (and how Ed loves her) but she's goes from one guy to the next, never letting anyone get too close. They get together mostly to play cards and once in a while to play soccer.
Things are about to change for Ed, however. Inadvertently he stops a bank robbery. There's a story about him in the paper. Suddenly he receives a cryptic message - he's sent a playing card, the Ace of Diamonds, on which is written three addresses. Ed vacillates between wanting to find out what's going on in those houses and being afraid. But slowly he convinces himself to get involved in the lives of the people who live there, people who are also in desperate need to help.
As the book progresses, Ed receives more messages. He meets a woman who's being raped by her husband, a girl who wants more than anything to run races, an old woman who's wandering in her memory, an immigrant family shunned by their neighbors.... Over time, Ed learns to see himself as a person capable of changing at least a tiny bit of the world. And at the same time, his relationships with his friends change. The romance he wants to have with Audrey is especially intriguing. I really understood why he loves her and how she feels towards him.
The review of this Book prepared by Ann Gaines
Ed Kennedy is nothing. Just plain old Ed, the guy who fakes his age so he can be a taxi driver, gets lectures from his mother, is in love with his best friend and is headed NOWHERE. Until he accidentally stops a bank robbery. That night a playing card - an ace of diamonds - comes in the mail. On it are three addresses. Because he doesn't know what else to do, he visits the first address, late at night. Soon he realises this address has problems - each night a drunk husband comes home and rapes his wife. Ed knows what he has to do: At each adress there are problems he has to solve - someone has to care about each of these troubled people, deliver the 'messages' to them. He works his way through all the suits of aces until the last ace, the ace of hearts, turns up. The three people listed are his three best friends, Ritchie, Marv and Audrey. He realises that although they have been friends for ever, each is closed off in some way from everyone else.
The review of this Book prepared by Hannah Warnaar
Liliana on 4/26/2014 3:21:03 PM says: Markus Zusak is a wonderful writer. I enjoyed the suspense that came with finding/receiving and solving the cards!