Judy's Reviews > The Piper's Son

The Piper's Son by Melina Marchetta
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's review
Apr 19, 2012

really liked it
bookshelves: contemporary, read-in-2012, ya
Read from April 25 to 29, 2012

Phew. I read this in about two days and I feel completely drained after reading it.

I think it's hard to describe this book as "it was good" or "it was okay". There is something about Melina Marchetta's writing that is hard for me to get into. When I first started reading, I was thrown into this...history. This complicated history involving this family that's been broken every generation and now all three generations have to try and come back together again. Which was what I didn't expect, coming into this read. Now I've never read "Saving Francesca" because of the same problem I had with this book and "Jellicoe Road". I pick up her books with every intention of finishing it, but the first few chapters are always a drag for me. I always put it down and have to restart later.

Maybe it's because I prefer my YA contemporary reads to be lighter. Not too dark. I like those types of stories because reality is too gloomy for me to want to read gloomy stories about people suffering. No thanks. Which was why I felt distant from Tom initially. He was just so sad. Sad in a self-destructing way. In a so the world screwed me over and now I'm going to finish the job, sort of way. It's the same with everybody around him. I don't know. I don't have much patience for that in book form.

I'm glad I stuck with it though, because around the ~100 page mark, it starts to pick up. Tom starts to become aware of the people around him, that other people are hurting too. His aunt Georgie, his dad Dominic, his aunt's ex-boyfriend Sam. It's all of these little tendrils of grief that is reaching out and wrapping everyone in it and suffocating everyone and every single person is acting out in their own way.

So it's a lovely story in the end, about people coming together and about hope, and about surrounding yourself with friends who care about you even though you've been a complete dickhead to them for the past two years. I'm glad that Tom finally pulls his head out of his arse and starts becoming a human being again, and of course the romance is completely adorable, and completely appropriate that it takes second stage to everything else that's going on (I am thrilled that this is not a romantic-love-will-save-you sort of book).

What prevented me from giving this book a full 5 stars I think is just personal taste. Like I said above, I'm biased about contemporary stories that are heavy. I expect gut wrenching, real emotions and standing there alongside the main character, rooting them on. I felt just a little distant from Tom, like I couldn't quite get into his head. I also felt a bit distant from everyone in the book, because there were some points that just veered too close to melodrama and his friends too hipster-chic with the constant snappy comebacks and clever lines. People can't be that on all the time, you know? Although Mohsin the Ignorer made me laugh. I loved him.

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Reading Progress

04/29/2012 page 61
18.0% "A bit hard to keep track of who is who. Also, Tom is kind of a jackass but I guess that's the point? Hoping he will redeem himself."
04/29/2012 page 82
25.0% "Coming together a little bit more. This is just sad."
04/29/2012 page 240
73.0% ""I know this sounds cruel...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.""

Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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Wendy Darling Great review, Judy. For my personal taste, I often have trouble with this author's writing style, too. There are times when I objectively can admire the technique of it all without being as moved as I feel I should be.

I'm glad you enjoyed this overall, though--it's my favorite book of hers that I've read so far.

Judy Thanks, Wendy!

Yes, I think her writing is the sort of beautiful that you keep at arm's length and not something you want to hold onto forever. They're just missing a little extra of whatever unknown quality it is that makes a good book great for me.

I did feel more connected to this one more than Jellicoe Road or Finnikin of the Rock (which I never finished, same with Saving Francesca). Did you like Saving Francesca? Your review said you didn't love that one.

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