Saturday, 30 November 2013

Discussion: The Piper's Son by Melina Marchetta

The Piper's Son by Melina Marchetta
Release Date: March 1st, 2010
Publisher: Viking
Buy: Amazon | Book Depository
Goodreads Summary

The award-winning author of Finnikin of the Rock and Jellicoe Road pens a raw, compelling novel about a family's hard-won healing on the other side of trauma.

Award-winning author Melina Marchetta reopens the story of the group of friends from her acclaimed novel Saving Francesca - but five years have passed, and now it's Thomas Mackee who needs saving. After his favorite uncle was blown to bits on his way to work in a foreign city, Tom watched his family implode. He quit school and turned his back on his music and everyone that mattered, including the girl he can't forget. Shooting for oblivion, he's hit rock bottom, forced to live with his single, pregnant aunt, work at the Union pub with his former friends, and reckon with his grieving, alcoholic father. Tom's in no shape to mend what's broken. But what if no one else is either? An unflinching look at family, forgiveness, and the fierce inner workings of love and friendship, The Piper's Son redefines what it means to go home again.

Read along with Summer from Miss Fictional's World of YA books

A couple months ago, Summer finally jumped on the Marchetta train and seeing her read all these books by Marchetta reminded me of the fact that I had been putting off The Piper's Son for ages. Marchetta's books tend to be emotionally exhausting and I really didn't feel up to it on my own so I asked the wonderful Summer if she would be up for a buddy read. She said yes and we had the most fabulous time reading this awesome book. Today she'll be joining me for a discussion about the book (well technically we joined each other since this will be cross posted on her blog as well.)

Rashika: Ahhhh wasn’t this book AWESOME? I just want to hug it and cry.

Summer: I KNOW RIGHT! I really miss the Finch-Mackee family. :')

Rashika: Okay so I just want to start off by saying that doesn’t this remind you of On the Jellicoe Road? I mean what with a whole family being torn apart by a death it kind of does resemble the situation in Jellicoe. Maybe that’s why I am kind of on the edge about what to give this book. Jellicoe is way too close to my heart.

Summer: I'm still unsure if this was as wonderful as Jellicoe Road. My favorite part in Jellicoe was the flashbacks to give us a closer look into their family, but in the Piper's Son the story wasn't as heartbreaking as in Jellicoe. Wait, no, I don't want it to seem like I didn't like this, because I LOVED it, but maybe 0.05% less?

Rashika: Yeah the flashbacks were.. heartbreaking, I kept telling myself nothing bad was going to happen but it did and it broke my heart. That isn't to say this book didn't break my heart either. Marchetta enjoys shredding our hearts.

Rashika: There is so much heartbreak in this book. And half of the time it’s like there is this weight around your heart and it’s all you could do to not break down and cry for all of these characters.

Summer: That's the thing with Marchetta. She creates these characters that make you feel what they feel, it's this magical talent she has. So since most of this novel is  pretty sad, I couldn't hold in my tears. The hopelessness, the grief, the desperation, everything the characters felt, I felt.

Rashika: I’ll admit it. Tom and Tara’s story was not my favorite. In fact, I love Tom but at the same time he will never take Jimmy’s place in my heart. But Georgie and Sam. Their story. I cannot even. She explores something that a lot of people are touchy about, infidelity. There is so much anger and confusion between the two even 7 years later and why wouldn’t there be? Even with all that, they are having a child. At first I wanted her to lash out at Sam and get back at him for everything he had done but I realized that would be wrong, Sam is already miserable. Because for him to have his son, he lost the most important person in his life. He loves his son but he had to lose another person he loved to have him. Like Bill, who had to lose his best friend to gain a wonderful family, or Georgie who had to lose her brother for her to have the baby.

Summer: When I first met Sam, I wasn't the biggest fan of their relationship. Besides the fact that it wasn't the traditional first-love thing common in YA, I couldn't help but imagine him as a sort of antagonist. Then again, I kind of began to love him as the story progressed, just as Georgie's love for him was slowly being revived. This was a common quality for a lot of the characters; at first, I hated Sam and Bill, but as we got a closer look into their lives, we began to understand and empathize with them, which I think was Marchetta's goal.

Your point on how these characters had to lose someone to gain another is such a great and heartbreaking topic. The whole issue of loss in this book is so profound that I find myself tearing up just thinking about it. It creates conflicting feelings in these characters and in the reader as well because it makes us think, "If so-and-so hadn't died, would I have ever met this person?"

Rashika:   In the beginning I didn’t like Tom. I didn’t. The way he treated Georgie broke my heart. But as the author dwelled more into his story, you couldn’t help but fall in love with him. The boy who lost all his family. The boy who lost his hero. The boy who stayed behind to take care of a father who left him. But even with all that his story didn’t touch me nearly as much as Georgie’s did. Tom had friends who wanted to help him but he pushed them away. Georgie had no one, her mom left her to bring back her brother’s body. She had no one to turn to as she hit rock bottom, so she ended up turning to the very person who betrayed her. And it breaks my heart that she was busy taking care of everything when her own heart was breaking. There was no one who could stand by her side and comfort her because everyone was too busy dealing with their own grief.

Summer: I'll admit, Tom was an a-hole in this book. I don't remember him being that much of a jerk in Saving Francesca, but at the same time, I can't blame him. His life is tearing down before his eyes, and he can't cope with it. People have different ways of dealing with grief, so I guess he deals with it by ignoring his friends and putting on his facade of "I don't give a crap". Although, I agree with you that Georgie's story affected me so much more. She had to lift herself up, and at the same time trying to lift her loved ones up, and her immense strength really is commendable. I was disappointed that she had to turn to Sam for help, but I now know that he was and is perfect for her, as cheesy as that sounds.

Rashika: As someone who loves second chance romances, I actually enjoyed that part. I had no idea going into the book there would be one. Honestly the best thing about second chances are that they show that a relationship cannot be perfect. People make mistakes.

Summer: Exactly! And the thing is in this genre that the characters usually end up spending the rest of their lives with their “first love”, but really, how realistic is this? I love that Marchetta does not shy away from the harsh realities, and instead faces them head-on.

Summer: To Marchetta fans, I feel like it is kind of a big deal that she chose to go the third-person POV route instead of first-person POV. Small as a change it may seem, I'm still a bit unsure if this was the correct way to go. I'm used to reading their thoughts from one perspective, but now we get a more broader look into their world. I like it, but at the same time I miss the first person just like Jellicoe, Saving Francesca, and Looking for Alibrandi.

Rashika: Seeing that I liked Georgie’s story better I was happy but I’ve heard that Jimmy’s story might have 4? Or was it 4 main characters. I am slightly confused about that. I am sitting here trying to decide how Marchetta’s books order on my mental list. Jellicoe is without a doubt my favorite but… seriously, I cannot decide. Alibrandi has a special spot because it’s different from the rest of her books (it isn’t nearly as depressing) and well, this woman is a genius, it’s kind of hard to decide which one of her books I prefer.

Summer: Gahh hopefully her new book with Jimmy will live up to our really high expectations, but I have no doubt she’ll blow us away (again).

Rashika: Yes. Jimmy was my favorite character in both books (even though he remained absent in this one). I look forward to reading his story :D Anyways THANK YOU for reading this with me Summer! It was reallyyy funn and I enjoyed fangirling over Jimmy with you (and I am laying my claim on him as well) :P

Summer: Samsies! And thank YOU so much! (actually he is mine :D)

(I decided there was no point in fighting with a delusional Summer :P Obviously she cannot see that Jimmy is mine but I won't burst her bubble).

Thanks for joining us guys!

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