Saturday, May 8, 2010

BR: The Piper's Son

by Melina Marchetta
companion novel to Saving Francesca

I can't even express how excited I was to get a chance to read this.

Summary (goodreads):

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.

**
My Expectations: enormously high. It's MM, what did you expect?

Delivery: YES. Thank you, a book that finally blew me away, met and exceeded my expectations.

Put-down-ability: 3/10- read it in 2 sittings (darn you, school)
**

My Thoughts

Let me start by saying, this book is one of the best books I’ve read this year, it is a Melina Marchetta treasure, and everything I hoped it would be and more. I went into it with exceedingly high expectations and it delivered time and time again, each time leaving a different emotional mark on me.

This book isn’t like Saving Francesca, although it skilfully pulls familiar characters back into the mix, showing glimpses of their lives and making you fall in love with them all over again. Francesca, Will, Justine, Luca, Tara, and a few others make appearances, each one having grown up but still really stayed true to their lovable selves. Fans of SF will enjoy this one. Also, this is a mature YA novel, Tom is 21, and yes, profanity is pretty darn abundant.

Georgie, Tom’s aunt has a story of her own: pregnant with her ex’s child and struggling to stay on her feet and hang on to her sanity (metaphorically), she tells her own story about righting her family’s ship with unconditional love and…feistiness. Somewhere along the way, she manages to find herself as well. Her ex, Sam, wasn’t exactly in my good books, I felt he deserved a lot worse.

The reason this novel worked so well is because of all the different levels of depth incorporated into the plot, characters, and writing. Just when you think you've got something figured out, the author adds an unexpected layer that just further enhances the story.

Tom’s relationship with his father, Dominic, is such a powerful theme in the novel, one that I felt was portrayed impeccably. The father and son’s intense, personal journeys were written phenomenally. The scene at the AA meeting had my eyes overflowing with tears, I won’t lie. And don’t think that there is only a few inter-family relationships in this book, the whole novel is made up of an intricate web of Finch-Mackees, each with their own niche in the family, and their own story to tell. Family is so important to both Tom and Georgie, and is explored from all angles—from pure love and devotion, to regret and indifference.

I will admit, I read this novel twice. The first for Tom, and the second for Georgie; I can’t remember the last book I read so diligently. Tom’s story is what really drew me in though, the way his life spiralled down after Uncle Joe’s death was…sad. It made me sad. But beneath Tom’s angry, tough exterior is a lost and mourning boy struggling with grief, who hangs on to the second chance offered to him by Georgie.

I absolutely adored Tom’s relationship with that psycho Tara Finke, how their history is revealed and how they mend and move on. Flashbacks, phone calls, texts, and emails work together to depict heart-warming moments after moments.

The text messages and emails exchanged between the characters added a modern, charming, and funny touch, effortlessly making me sniffle or giggle. The characters brought back from Saving Francesca don’t dominate the story, but each have their own spot and you can tell how much that year 11 had affected them. And thanks for bringing back Ben and the Mullet Brothers =)

Flawlessly written, Melina Marchetta weaves an enchanting, beautiful story filled with love, grief, family, friendships, and hope for two individuals who have lost the most important things in their lives. An outstanding effort once again, and further reinforces Marchetta as one of my all time favourite contemporary authors.

9.3/10 – tied for the highest score I’ve given a novel this year. Tom’s and Georgie’s growth through the novel is exceptionally well written, their storylines sure to burrow deep into a reader’s heart. I connected and sympathized with the characters right at the beginning, once again demonstrating Marchetta’s ability to draw a reader in with ease. The themes of family and friendship were just... perfect. I laughed, I cried, and I don’t have enough good things to say about this emotionally breathtaking book, except for READ IT (well, when it is released in North America in March 2011)






Not convinced? Read other reviews from: Persnickety Snark, Not Enough Bookshelves, Sassi Sam, The Unread Reader

Source: a million thanks to Penguin Australia for sending me a review copy.

15 comments:

  1. Glad you enjoyed the book, it's contemporary fiction so I can bet I'll enjoy it too! You're incredibly lucky to get a review copy of a book by an author you love! :) By the way, I've got an award for you on my blog, just an opportunity to say I <3 yours!

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  2. Brilliant review. You said so many of the things I thought but managed not to say!

    Thanks for the link I'm going to link back as I LOVED this!

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  3. Outstanding review! So looking forward to reading this! Would you say that it ends on a hopeful note? I have heard it described as very bleak.

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  4. I knew very little (possibly nothing) about this one before I read your review, but I'm definitely really excited to read it now. I read Saving Francesca just a few weeks ago and adored it, so I love the idea of revisiting some of the same characters. This sounds really heartfelt and touching and I know I'll love it. Thanks for the heads up!

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  5. Elle- thank you so so much for the nice words and the award :) I really hope you can read this book when it comes out!

    Alexa- thank you! I might edit this one a bit, i feel it's a bit long but there was just so much I wanted to say about it.

    Pens- Yes, the novel started off pretty bleak but it Does end on a hopeful note. I hope you'll enjoy this one :)

    Lauren- SF was such an amazing book! I'm so glad you took time to read the review, this book will not disappoint =D

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  6. I would love to read The Piper's Son. Great review

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  7. Wow, great review! This definitely sounds like a great book, and such a high rating!! Sounds like I'll definitely have to check out this awesome MM somtime... :D

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  8. thank you so much for the compliments on my blog and for becoming a follower! I am also now a follower for yours! I'm totally a team adrian person too! Amazing giveaway.

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  9. Thanks for visiting me! Love your review, I might read "Saving Francesca" while I wait for this one to be released in the US.

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  10. good enough to read twice huh.
    Adding this. Lovely review

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  11. Tea- I hope you can read it one day :)

    Jenn- Yes! Melina Marchetta is the definition of amazing :P

    Anisa- your blog was awesome ;) and *high five* fellow Adrian fan!

    Miel- no problemo! Yes, you should deinitely try SF, it's really good.

    Cleverly Inked- Yupp, I hope you will like it :) and thank you!

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  12. I've never read anything by MM, and I actually *wasn't* going to pick up The Piper's Son. But, would you look at that?! It's on my to-read list, now! ;D

    Thanks for the stellar review!

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  13. Madeleine- ....OMG NO. You did NOT just say that!! Read MM right away :P Right Away!! I would recommend you read Saving Francesca first, but my fave MM book is still Jellicoe Road. thank you!

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  14. MM as you call her is brilliant and I could not agree more with your review. Everyone must read her work.

    Seahn

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  15. Seahn- yes yes yes! I talk about her wayy to many times on my blog :P and thank you so so much for commenting on so many posts, I'm really grateful you took time to do that :D

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DFTBA :)
for those who are confused, it means "Don't forget to be AWESOME". *hugs*