The Piper’s Son by Melina Marchetta
Publication Date: August 14th 2012 by Candlewick Press
Rating: 4.5 Stars
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance
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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.
Melina Marchetta is one of those authors that always pulls you into her stories. Whether it’s in fantasy or contemporary, Marchetta finds a way to provoke a strong emotional connection to her books. The Piper’s Son is no exception. This book gives us a chance to check in with the Saving Francesca gang. Only this time, Tom Mackee takes center stage.
It’s been five years since we first met Tom in Saving Francesca and a lot has changed. After his uncle’s death, Tom turned away from everything he once cared about. His education, dreams, family and friends. When we meet Tom at the beginning he has well and truly hit rock bottom. He’s all but given up. It was heart breaking to see him so broken. To see how someone that had so much life and energy seems so hollow was crushing. The Piper’s Son is about holding on to that glimmer of light, fighting for what is lost and find passion in living again. It’s one of the most difficult journey’s to follow but so rewarding in the end.
The strength in Marchetta’s books always lie in her characters. The heart of this story is about these characters and their relation to Tom. Each and every relationship is given the spotlight. Rebuilding is the definitive word for the nature of a lot of these relationships. Tom has alienated himself from everyone he once held dear and throughout this book we see the damage of that decision. There’s a lot of hurt and anger between Tom, his friends and family and the path to reconnecting is a tangled mess. However, that persistence and resilience to find what was lost and maintain it is admirable. It is in these relationships that we also see the individual struggles these characters face. Whether is grief, separation, or heartache, all of these characters face challenges in their lives and relationships. Seeing them work through those hardships and live in spite of them is what makes them so easy to relate to.
This is a book that needs to be experienced to truly appreciate its beauty. This review does no justice to its brilliance because it is a book that provokes such a strong emotional reaction that even words can’t explain. If you’re looking for a book that explores the complexities of humanity, this is the book for you.
“Because I miss it like you’d never believe, and then I go away from this place and I miss here too. I’m scared I’m going to spend the rest of my life in a state of yearning, regardless of where I am.”
What did you think of The Piper’s Son?
What book has provoked a strong emotional reaction from you?