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Stuff for the Teen Age, Biblio File
"The Piper's Son": A Review
Thomas Finch Mackee is many things to many people: musician, friend, and most recently, complete jerk.
Five years ago, his world seemed certain. He was friends with the girls from school. He wanted to be something more to Tara Finke. He would follow his charming father anywhere, as most people would — Dom has always been a pied piper. That was before London.
That was before his family had to bury another empty coffin, this time for Tom’s uncle, lost in the London bombing.
After London, everything is uncertain. Tom’s father is gone, his mother and sister are in another city, and he’s lost touch with his friends. Tom’s life is falling apart.
When Tom moves in with his pregnant aunt and finds a job working with the friends he abandoned, he might also find a way back to himself. In The Piper’s Son by Melina Marchetta, everything in Tom's life is broken, but with a little time and a lot of forgiveness, some of it can probably be fixed.
What a beautiful book! I’ve cried because books are funny or because they are sad, but this is the first time I've ever felt teary eyed at the end of the book because the story is so perfect and beautiful.
The Piper’s Son is Marchetta’s fifth book and the sequel to Saving Francesca (read my review), a book that has a permanent place in my top five all-time-favorite books. Interestingly, you can see hints of Marchetta’s earlier works in this novel. You can see nods to Jellicoe Road (read my review) in the snappy beginning*, Finnikin of the Rock (read my review) in the things not overtly said, and, of course, nods to Saving Francesca (and even Looking for Alibrandi (read my review) in terms of family dynamics. As much as I love Marchetta’s earlier books, especially Saving Francesca, this one might surpass them all.
Set five years after Saving Francesca, The Piper’s Son is an interesting book, one being marketed to young adults though all of the characters are, technically, adults (Tom and his group are in their early twenties). The story also alternates between Tom’s view and his aunt Georgie's, who is 42 and pregnant. The alternating voices work to flesh out the story and make sense of Tom’s complex family. Their stories in tandem also work to highlight how much both characters change from the beginning of The Piper’s Son to the end.
Although The Piper’s Son is a sequel, you can almost read it before Saving Francesca**. Marchetta has masterfully built Tom and his friends’ backstories into the story, so readers can learn what happened between the two novels. The beloved characters from Saving Francesca (Francesca and the girls, and even Will Trombal) return in this novel, along with a lot of great new characters (Ned and Anabel). This book truly made me love Francesca and her group even more than I did before!
As always, Marchetta has left me completely floored and truly enchanted. The Piper’s Son is a wonderful story that is both optimistic and utterly enthralling.
*Especially in a certain violin player named Ben!
**Don’t do this, because part of the charm of Saving Francesca is meeting these characters for the first time. But if you feel you must ignore my advice, know that you could.