Release Date: March 2011
Age Group: Young Adult
Received From: Bought
The award-winning author of Finnikin of the Rock and Jellicoe Road pens a raw, compelling novel about a family’s hard-won healing on the other side of trauma.
Award-winning author Melina Marchetta reopens the story of the group of friends from her acclaimed novel Saving Francesca – but five years have passed, and now it’s Thomas Mackee who needs saving. After his favorite uncle was blown to bits on his way to work in a foreign city, Tom watched his family implode. He quit school and turned his back on his music and everyone that mattered, including the girl he can’t forget. Shooting for oblivion, he’s hit rock bottom, forced to live with his single, pregnant aunt, work at the Union pub with his former friends, and reckon with his grieving, alcoholic father. Tom’s in no shape to mend what’s broken. But what if no one else is either? An unflinching look at family, forgiveness, and the fierce inner workings of love and friendship, The Piper’s Son redefines what it means to go home again.
I’m a huge fan of Melina Marchetta. She’s a brilliant author. When I finished reading Saving Francesca I was so happy to learn that The Piper’s Son was Tom’s story. I grew to love him in Saving Francesca and I was thrilled to get to learn more about him. Sadly, this book is one of those stories that I liked but didn’t necessarily enjoy.
Thomas Mackee’s family is messed up. There’s really no other way to put it. They are close but they all have so many problems. It was very interesting dynamic. There relationships were all so fractured, but they had an extraordinary bond. The thing I found the hardest to connect with was the fact that they all saw the negative in each other. You could tell that they cared so much but all Georgie and Dom ever saw was the bad things that happened decades ago. There’s also a lot of angst. I usually don’t mind angst, but Tom has to be the most angst ridden character I’ve ever read about.
There were lots of things I really liked though. The book alternates between Tom and Georgie. Georgie is Tom’s 40 something pregnant aunt. This is a YA with a 40 year old character. That’s unheard of! I really liked Georgie, probably more than I liked Tom. She was in a tough situation. It was fascinating to see her learn to forgive. I also adored that Francesca was in the book so much!
Overall, The Piper’s Son was a good read. It was a very different take on family than I’m used to reading about. It definitely wasn’t my favorite book by Melina Marchetta.