My rating: 3 of 5 stars
It must be hard to write a book after writing one that came into such fame as The Book Thief. This book is proof of that. If not being compared to The Book Thief it would have been a perfectly acceptable read. But because I unconsciously compared to what might be considered a modern day classic, it comes out somehow lacking.
Ed is a bit of a loser to be honest. Nineteen, no higher education, no career, lying about his age so he can be a taxi driver, when he isn’t working he is hanging out with his mates, Merv, Ritchie and Audrey playing cards. We’re introduced to the characters when they are in the middle of a bank robbery. Ed acts out of character and appears to shoot at the robber, earning himself a touch of local notoriety with it. Then the cards start appearing in his life. The Ace of Diamonds, Clubs, Spades and Hearts. Each card carrying names, addresses or clues for Ed to work out and do good deeds for complete strangers. Its an odd little book.
It feels like the book is trying too hard to be deep and meaningful. Its a kind of mystery that ends with a total turnabout. The meaning of the story is to live life to the fullest, make the most of your life and don’t be complacent. But the idea that someone set up so many meaningful moments just to make a difference in Ed’s life is more than a little far fetched. It never feels believable, even with the dirty mates and the unrequited love for Audrey.
Personally I enjoyed the nod to Australian culture and the names of Australian business’ scattered through the story.