Melina Marchetta is a frickin GODDESS,
This review is from: The Piper's Son (Hardcover)
I read Saving Francesca a while ago, but hadn't gotten around to reviewing it, mostly because I was afraid all that would come out was a big LOVE! But then, I saw some news that made me spaz out a little bit (true story)... She wrote a sequel (well, companion novel). The story takes place five years later, and is told by Tom, who was my favorite of the male characters in Francesca's story. Seriously... I did myself a little squeal and dance and started breathing funny. So when I had the chance to sign up for an ARC tour, of the sequel, I took it. Which meant I had to quickly review the first. So I did. Then I read this book. And, sigh. Here I go again with that great big LOVE!
The Piper's Son is Tom Mackee's story, and the years between now and the end of Francesca's story have not been kind to him. His family is disintegrating, Tom is unraveling, he has no idea how to stop it, and he's basically given up on everything. Two years ago, Tom's favorite Uncle moved to London to teach, and was killed by a bomber on the train. And everything has completely fallen apart since then.
As I mentioned above, Tom was my favorite of the guys we met in Saving Francesca. I was so excited to learn that this would be his story, but just reading the blurb broke my heart a little, because I knew Tom was going to be really suffering throughout the whole book. In Saving Francesca, it's clear that there is a lot more depth to Tom than Francesca and the others believe. He has a huge capacity for love, which means there is also a lot of space for pain. And in the last two years, all that love is drowning in the pain Tom can't escape from. So he ignores it. He spends him time lazing around, mostly stoned out of him mind. He has no liking or respect for the people he lives with, but they have cheap beer and access to drugs, so whatever.
After a chain of events where even Tom begins to realize that he's let things get out of control for too long, things start to change. He gets a job, starts (sort of) talking to Francesca and Justine again, and after a time starts sending Tara emails. She's living in another country at this point, and given their history, he's pretty sure she doesn't actually want to hear from him. But these emails to her become cathartic and he can't seem to stop sending them. He's able to tell her things in an email that he can't hardly face yet, and it begins to slowly heal him, as do the interactions with his former friends, and moving in with his aunt.
The family scenes were the hardest to read. Marchetta is such a gifted writer that it doesn't take much for the pain to start pouring off the pages. There is so much anger, grief and betrayal floating around that family that it is hard to see how they've stuck together for so long. But, there is undeniably also a lot of love, and that is what holds them together past all the hurts. It's almost palpable.
The only complaint I have with this story is the absence of Jimmy. He was such a fun character to read about before, and he is kind of who brought the group together. Things would not have been the same without Jimmy, and I definitely felt his absence. I understood that he was working on his own issues, but I missed him! Maybe Marchetta will write his story next. (Ahem... Please. Thank you)
Marchetta has definitely earned herself a place on my favorites list. She is a stunningly brilliant writer. Her characters are real and they are raw. They all have their faults, their inconsistencies within themselves, but they also each contain good qualities. There is never any doubt in my mind that these people whose lives I am reading about are real. They exist, they, hurt, they laugh, they cry, they bleed. And I will love them always.