Liza Gilbert's Reviews > The Piper's Son

The Piper's Son by Melina Marchetta
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's review
Apr 30, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: young-adult
Read from April 30 to May 01, 2011

This is a classic case of poor marketing.

Marchetta's novel about family discord in Australia is well written, witty, and dark. The large cast of characters is fleshed out nicely and the musical references permeate the novel instead of popping up as obvious odes on a theme.

But, I can't imagine any circumstance under which this book would appeal the the teens for whom it is marketed. The large cast of characters makes the first 50-100 pages confusing, especially since every character has a traumatic issue. It's easy to get them all tangled up.

Secondly, this kind of family drama, where all the the primary and secondary characters are over 21, will appeal almost exclusively to readers in their 20s, 30s, 40s, etc. Teens will most likely not have the life context or interest to make it through this book.

I give the work itself four stars, but I'm distressed about the intended audience. I know that adults will find this book very well written and want teens to read it, but this is exactly the kind of award-winning book pushed my way when I was a teen that I considered torturous to get through.

Additionally, I don't think it's at all fair to Ms. Marchetta. While this book will most likely end up on "best of" lists for teens (who won't want to read it), Marchetta would have a wider audience and more appreciative readership if this book had been marketed to adults. It's an insightful, reflective, and memorable work, but the family trauma-drama, the themes, and the age of the characters will just not be of much interest to young adults.
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Reading Progress

04/30/2011 page 122
37.0% "This is completely adult, domestic drama. I have no idea why this was marketed as YA. Plus, it's ranking up there on the list of most depressing books I've ever read. I feel like I need an injection of puppies and rainbows before I sit down to read it."

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