Dear Markus Zusack,
Diamonds, Clubs, Spades, Hearts, The Joker. These cards have changed not only Ed Kennedy's life, but mine as well. They painted a mural in my mind and and wove a tapestry in my soul, brought me anguish and joy, hate and love. When I read The Messenger I was in a dark place; I had no purpose or meaning and everything felt worthless to me. But Ed showed me even someone without a glimmer of hope or any shred of ambition can still have a meaningful life. It is a choice to be bored, like it is a choice to do something great. Sometimes we just need a messenger to understand that.
It all started when my dad began to drink again earlier this year. He lost who he was and squandered his life, similar to Ed's father. And then I fell into the pit not unlike a black hole which ate my life, my hopes, and my dreams without cease and without mercy. I was depressed. I was too wrapped up in my own misery to notice I had friends who had their own problems just like I had mine. All my relationships became shallow just like Ed and his friends. I felt my life slipping away faster and faster.
I began to read Edgar Allan Poe. His dark stories were my escape, but they also left me empty and wanting more. Poe became a treasured friend and hated enemy. I related to his words of madness and anguish but they never relieved my anguish, just put a new spin on it. One quote stood out to me though; Poe once said "And so being young and dipped in folly, I fell in love with melancholy," and that was me. I had slipped in and forgot to try to get out. I vowed to change but couldn't on my own, at least, that's what I thought at first. Turned out I just needed a little push out the door and some help from Ed.
I was with Ed his whole journey through. I too knew the feeling of despair and no direction in life; I experienced it all, the joy of reading to the old woman, the fury and sadness and shock of Edgar Street and the confusion of the massive chaotic whirlwind that is life. Not to mention, my touch of existential crisis -- that we all tend to posses somewhere -- was somewhat resolved.
This book helped me stay strong. In my darkest hours I thought of Ed and what he went through, and if he could do things so much harder and so much worse, I KNEW I could at least handle this. I learned to be set in the ways and qualities that I'm still trying to develop, because I know depression isn't the true me. Even if I don't have much direction yet I can be confident and move forward in life nonetheless. I still am trying my best, I got put on medication, I became closer to better people. That picture in my head and heart woven by this book still gives me hope and pushes me forward. The bad nights got better, and I can now remember each and every day that is hard that I can make it, that I must get through it. If nothing else for the people who I care about so much. I found that they key to happiness was to run out and find it, to grab it by the hand, and make it come to me. It was to forge new connections and learn to love deeply and truly. And for that, Markus Zusack, I thank you and your book. You were my messenger.