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The Piper's Son
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.
ok, I love love love love love love love times a million this book! A perfet follow up for 'Saving Francesca'! (Which you should defintely read first! Also by Melina Marchetta). A very emotional book, I couldn't put it down. Think I read it in a day! LOVE LOVE LOVE Tom! READ IT!
Firstly, I have to admit I was a little bit nervous before reading this. I had very, very high expectations and was scared that The Piper's Son wouldn't be able to measure up to them and to Saving Francesca (which I loved and connected very strongly with). Despite this, I was looking forward to being reunited with Tom, Frankie and the rest of the gang, and finding out what happened to them following the events of Saving Francesca.
Of course, I shouldn't have worried because once again Melina Marchetta has delivered a novel which submerges you into the lives of her characters and full of beautiful, heartbreaking and laugh-out-loud moments (maybe I shouldn't admit this but I got teary just flicking back through the book when composing this review). I am a big fan of Thomas Mackee. Something drew me to him in Saving Francesca and was thrilled to be able to explore his story. Whilst some of his actions and attitude in The Piper's Son are a bit questionable, there is something so inherently likeable about him - that Marchetta reminds us of throughout the novel (I was discussing this book with a friend and we both called Tom 'a loveable dickhead', which I think captures him pretty well).
I was a little bit uncertain of the Georgie/Tom alternating chapters (which is silly because it's fairly well known I love split-narratives), but it worked so well - I felt the stories were able to balance each other out - like Georgie's pain over the loss of her brother may be followed by sharp, witty e-banter between Tom and Tara. I also found the third-person narration a bit off-putting at first (mostly because I've been so use to the first-person style of Marchetta's earlier works), but again, I quickly came round to it and it worked.
As I mentioned earlier, there are so many beautiful and heartbreaking and laugh-out-loud moments in The Piper's Son - I loved any scene with the chaos of the Mackee-Finch clan together under the one roof, and anything involving the Saving Francesca/Union hotel gang. I also loved the inclusion of emails in The Piper's Son - they were all so incredibly well done (I sometimes find that they don't always function effectively as a narrative device), but once again, perfect.
Whilst I still hold a special place for Saving Francesca, I found The Piper's Son to be exactly what I needed at the time of reading. It is a more adult read than Marchetta's other works, (though will surely be enjoyed by teens), and I definitely appreciated this (having been seventeen when I first read SF and am now in my early twenties, like Tom and Frankie). I loved being able to return to such well-written, developed characters and see how their lives have unfolded (for both the better and worse).
In The Piper's Son, Melina Marchetta focuses on Thomas Mackee, one of the characters from Saving Francesca. Thomas's life sucks. His once happy and close family has been torn to shreds after his Uncle Joe was killed in the London bombings in 2005. Tom's dad is an alcoholic who has gone AWOL, his mother and sister have disappeared to Brisbane and his Aunt Georgie is pregnant but won't publicly acknowledge it. And Tom, well he's lost his job, his roommates have kicked him out, and he's beating himself up over losing one of his best friends after a one-and-a-half night stand 2 years ago.
As Tom pushes everyone away and spirals into a pit of depression we discover the strength, hope and love that family and friends are capable of as they attempt to get Tom's life slowly back on track. I also like that the story is told in third person, following both Tom and Georgie.
By the end you are left with a feeling of hope, and that family and true friends are always there for you, no matter how tough things get and how much you try to push them away.
Having not read Saving Francesca I was worried that The Piper's Son wouldn't make sense and that I wouldn't be able to follow the story, but that wasn't the case. While it does refer a lot to what happens in Saving Francesca, it in no way gave me any trouble. I would really like to read Saving Francesca now and while I don't feel the need to hear the story of Justine or Tara, I would really like to find out what has happened to Jimmy (the 5th member of their group), which Marchetta has given small clues to in The Piper's Son and I think has paved the way for another book focusing on him.