27 May 2011

REVIEW: The Piper's Son by Melina Marchetta

by Melina Marchetta 
Publisher: Candlewick
08 March 2011
336 Pages

Melina Marchetta's brilliant, heart-wrenching new novel takes up the story of the group of friends from her best-selling, much-loved book Saving Francesca - only this time it's five years later and Thomas Mackee is the one who needs saving.

Thomas Mackee wants oblivion. Wants to forget parents who leave and friends he used to care about and a string of one-night stands, and favourite uncles being blown to smithereens on their way to work on the other side of the world.

But when his flatmates turn him out of the house, Tom moves in with his single, pregnant aunt, Georgie. And starts working at the Union pub with his former friends. And winds up living with his grieving father again. And remembers how he abandoned Tara Finke two years ago, after his uncle's death.

And in a year when everything's broken, Tom realises that his family and friends need him to help put the pieces back together as much as he needs them.

R E V I E W :
I absolutely loved this book. I'm going to start sounding like one of those fan girls in a Justin Beiber concert, but I love love love this book.

Back to the review. Although this book is a follow-up to Saving Francesca, also a really great book, this one can be read alone and still fully understandable and enjoyed. It was nice catching up with most of the characters from Saving Francesca. Francesca had really changed from the gloomy mood and blossomed into someone new. I almost didn't recognize her. I expected her to pine for her boyfriend Will, who's overseas, but she didn't. She was contently living her life with him gone, even if Tom thought otherwise. Very healthy relationship, I think. You could tell she loved Will but not in the obsessed way that's so popular these days. The other characters changed as well but they still had the quirky qualities we fell in love with. They are still the bunch of supporting, caring friends who just want their old Tom back.

In Saving Francesca, I thought Tom was just an introverted kid who was on the path to maturing but in this book, you saw more into him and how he really changed. The death of his uncle sent his already declining home life into turmoil. Tom is struggling through a tough time through this book and he isolated himself from his friends and family. Suddenly, after a head injury, he was pretty much thrust into his past life, living with his, now pregnant, aunt and working in the same bar as Francesca and Justine. He also starts to contact Tara Finke, the girl he can't get out of his head and who he hasn't spoken to since, as Frankie said, a 'one-and-a-half night stand' two years ago. At first, she doesn't reply back because she's still kind of pissed about the whole hump and dump thing he did, but eventually, she starts replying. Then, his life starts getting back on track, but gradually, with bumps along the road.

The whole book switches from Tom to his Aunt Georgie and back, mainly focusing on Tom though. Georgie seems like a tough cookie who's slowly crumbling in the inside, but ready to bounce back. Through Georgie's perspective, some things about the Mackee/Finch family is explained. This family is the stuff of soap operas, and the effect of Joe's death on each family member was explored. Also, another subplot is added but not to the point that it's hard to follow and messy. Sam, the ex, is back in her life.

Personally, I think he took advantage of her when she was emotionally unstable. Sure he helped, but he shouldn't have had sex with her in her unstable state. She described the sex as suddenly waking up with him next to her. Personally, I think someone should introduce Sam to the wonders of a condom because he had gotten another woman pregnant before. Seriously. I also think someone should tell Sam to shut the hell up. It's like he's trying to control Georgie. Both Georgie and Tom describe his presence almost like he's tiptoeing around, hoping Georgie won't notice he's around and kick him out, but sometimes I don't get why they think this. I don't like Sam but I don't hate him. It's like he has two personalities. One moment, I absolutely dislike him and the next, I almost forgive him for his tyranny and not-goodness. But I still don't see why Georgie loved him. I guess the heart wants what the heart wants.

The Piper's Son made me want to cry, I rarely ever cry in books, in some parts and laugh, I love laughing, in others. Marchetta truly captured the raw emotion and made me truly care for these characters. This story was so beautiful and is one of very few books in which I didn't have an overwhelming desire to beat the sense into a character. I know I already said this but I really loved this book. I was so absorbed and it was a great story. I would recommend it to anyone.

Oh, I'd like to quickly mention that I love this cover. The one mostly used in the US is included below but I love the above one more. I feel like it shows how Tom is lost and trying to find his way back.

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