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The Piper's Son Hardcover – March 8, 2011

4.6 out of 5 stars 43 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Australian author Marchetta follows her Printz Award�winning Jellicoe Road (2008) and the high-fantasy Finnikin of the Rock (2010) with this realistic, stand-alone companion to Saving Francesca (2004), set five years later in the same urban neighborhood. After the death of his beloved uncle Joe in an overseas bomb blast, Tom dropped out of the university, and his family spun apart. After a rock-bottom moment leaves Tom homeless with a head full of stitches, he moves in with his aunt Georgie, who is pregnant at 42 and navigating a fraught relationship with a sometimes-estranged partner. Marchetta draws in familiar faces from Saving Francesca, including the title character, as Tom begins to reclaim his life and reach out to the girl he can�t forget. Readers may find that the narrative loses focus in frequent switches to Georgie�s point of view, but the multidimensional adult characters add to the story�s deep flashes of authenticity. A memorable portrait of first love, surviving grief, and the messy contradictions and fierce bonds that hold friends and family together. Grades 9-12. --Gillian Engberg

Review

"Tom’s aunt Georgie spoke to me first, and Tom found me through her. At the time, I didn’t actually think Tom was a big enough character to carry a story. If it had to be anyone from Saving Francesca, I thought, it would be Will Trombal or Tara. But the line in Francesca, ‘I want to be the first male in the Mackee family to reach 40 and still have a liver’ stuck with me, and in the end, Tom has been one of the biggest surprises. I’m glad I didn’t kick him out of my head."
- Melina Marchetta — Quote
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The latest book club pick from Oprah
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Candlewick (March 8, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0763647586
  • ISBN-13: 978-0763647582
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.1 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (43 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,899,536 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Marchetta is a writer who understands the beauty in the breakdown. This book would not have been so simultaneously hopeful and heartbreaking to read if she didn't. It's 2007. Two years have passed since Tom's beloved Uncle Joe was killed on his way to work in London. Tom's father has always been a drinker, but he completely falls off the wagon after Joe's death. Tom's mother walks out in an attempt to shield his younger sister from the chaos. Tom refuses to go. Eventually, his father walks out on him, too. Tom escapes quietly into an numbed state of drug and alcohol use to cope. I blame him, but it's a sympathetic blaming. Some emotions feel better on snooze.

His Aunt Georgie has other problems. Due to seemingly being the only family member able to hold her crap together (bless the Georgies of the world), she flies up to London to retrieve Joe's body, if possible. Her ex accompanies her. The one who cheated on her five years earlier. And got another woman pregnant. Now, two years later, Georgie is also pregnant with his baby. Honestly, I don't how she did it, because straight up, I would be like, "Please, for the love God, hand me a drink."

Like I said, I can sympathize with Tom.

I am not sure if I can adequately articulate my emotions about this one. I know on the surface it would be so easy to say that the events in The Piper's Son are about a family dealing with grief from a death. It would be incredibly easy to say that. However, the death, to me, seemed more of a reckoning, a gathering on the Finch-Mackee timeline for things unsaid, resentments unacknowledged, and demons unconquered. The death of Tom's Uncle Joe was the keystone of a family's implosion and magnified issues that were already present.
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Format: Hardcover
I don't know how Melina Marchetta does it - takes a story that seems so soap-operish and turns it into something so honest and real.

Let me tell you what "Piper's Son" is all about. Tom Mackee is a complete mess. His beloved uncle died 2 years ago, his father is lost somewhere, undoubtedly drunk, his mother and sister left his dad and moved to another state. Tom has been for years and still is lost and lonely. He takes drugs, he abandoned his friends, he betrayed the girl he loved, he dropped out of uni. All is bad until he hits the rock bottom and is forced to move in with his aunt Georgie who has a whole set of problems of her own - she is pregnant by the man who hurt her in the worst possible way, she is full of grief and despair. How will these people pull themselves together?

In someone else's hands such a plot can turn into cheap melodrama. But somehow Marchetta makes it a truly great story of pain, grief, betrayal, forgiveness and love. She just has this great way with words. You know how people often like to advise authors - "show, don't tell," well, Marchetta is a master of showing. It's not what her characters say, but what they do and how they do it that gives me goosebumps, or makes my heart ache or my eyes well up with tears.

"The Piper's Son" is not my favorite Melina Marchetta book, "Saving Francesca" is. And Tom is not my favorite Marchetta boy, that title belongs to Jonah Griggs. But I loved this novel. I loved revisiting Francesca, Will and their relationship. I loved Justine and her violinist (will she ever call him BTW, or they need to get their own book to finally get together?). I loved watching Tom change and make up for his crappy behavior. But my favorite part was undoubtedly Georgie and Sam's story, it was heart-breakingly beautiful.

"The Piper's Son" was all I expected from the author. I can't wait to read it again and again...
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
4.5 Super Stars

Melina Marchette is the only author I’ve found that can break and squish my heart more times than I can count in a book and make me love every minute of it and ask for more. The stories she tells about families that are strong and loving but have been broken by a tragedy and are trying to pick up the pieces again draw you in to the point you never want to leave. The only thing wrong with this book is that it ended.

-- “But grieving people are selfish. They won’t let you comfort them and they say you don’t understand and they make you feel useless when all your life you’ve been functional to them.”

When you lose someone in an unexpected and sudden way it can affect everyone who knew that person it ripples and radiates out like a pebble throw on still water or more like a dozen pebbles each creating their own ripples that crisscross and distort as they touch one another. The Piper’s Son explores that from the perspective of two pebbles Tom and Georgie.

Georgie’s younger brother and Tom’s Uncle Joe died in a terrorist attack in London two years ago. Since then their lives have been turned upside down and inside out. This is the story of the point when everyone starts to put things back together.

-- “Love’s easy. It kind of comes with the territory. But liking is another story.”

I found so many great insightful lines about family and love. You always love your parents, spouse, kids and friends but sometimes it is really hard to like them, especially when grief is eating you inside.
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