- 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: 4.5 out of 5 stars See all reviews (47 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #822,696 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Piper's Son Hardcover – March 8, 2011
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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
"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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Top Customer Reviews
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. Instead of the family coming together, the fine fracture lines cracked apart and separated individuals. Tom was both abandoned and chose to be on his own. Georgie closed in her grief and shame and anger over her baby brother's death and her unplanned pregnancy.
No one I've read can quite balance grief and humor like Marchetta can . . . Our Tom is still the snarky layabout that he was in Saving Francesca, but while you only got a whisper of his pain there, here it is full blown, as are his quips and timing. At times, I hated him, and at others, I kept praying that he would reach out to someone, anyone, because it was evident that he wanted and needed that. Georgie is one of the 'realest' characters I've ever read. She carries guilt the way she carries her child: it hangs low on her and takes up the center of her being. Marchetta really nails the difficult journey of self-love and forgiveness of others through Georgie.
I didn't just smile; I laughed out loud in public (several times, I might add). A couple pages later, I'd tear up. I love this family - I know a bit about how some families need to get a little blood on the floor so everyone can walk away feeling loved and forgiven. It's a cathartic process you only appreciate if you grow up with it. Their humor, their loyalty and their ability to feel deeply had me hoping the entire book that everyone would find their way back to each other.
For those of you wondering if you need to read Saving Francesca to understand this book, no, it's not necessary. The Mackee's story stands on it's own, although Saving Francesca is a book I highly recommend to you, as well (review coming 03.14.11). I am not sure if I am really doing this book justice, but suffice to say, I didn't love it; I breathed it in and lived it. It's the subtle difference between standing outside a story and being a witness in it, and Marchetta's writing is the type that makes you feel like you walking down the street with Tom or talking men with Georgie. In the end, this is the story of how love can rip family apart and bring them back together, of how keeping connections with others alive and hungry nourishes and protects your own life. The Piper's Son is a beautiful story of love and redemption, of going home again, and how some things have to shatter so you can put them right again.
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...
By Melina Marchetta
When Tom's uncle died his family fell apart. His dad became an alcoholic, his mom moved away taking his sister with her and Tom doesn't want anything to do with his closest friends or the girl he loves. One night while playing guitar at one of his gigs Tom had an accident that took him to the hospital. After he got out he discovers that his roommates kicked him out of their apartment, leaving him on the street with nowhere to go to except to his 42 year old pregnant aunt's house. After all this misfortune he decides to recover everything that he once had.
The Piper's Son is the sequel to Saving Francesca and it takes place 5 years after. Is basically a standalone book but I assure you'll want to read Saving Francesca after you read The Piper's Son. This book made me want to cry and laugh in every chapter. It's such a contradiction that a book makes you laugh and cry at the same time but that's the way it is. The story is sad but the way the characters act is funny and is a perfect balance. The best part is that you know there's light at the end of the tunnel. The stuff that happens to Tom and his family is so sad that I felt their pain because is so realistic that is scary at times. The Mackee-Finch are a normal family, when something bad happens they cry and get mad but they will go on living by helping each other survive. This book makes you realize that before giving up always think that something wonderful might be 12 minutes away from happening.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
In this companion novel to Saving Francesca, we follow Tom and his aunt...Read more
I’ve read Saving Francesca and then later discovered that it has a sort-of sequel featuring one of the secondary characters, Thomas...Read more