The Piper’s Son by Melina Marchetta

Today’s my birthday and I’m glad that I get to post a review of what has become one of my favorite reads this year. The Piper’s Son by Melina Marchetta is a companion novel to Saving Francesca, which I enjoyed reading last year. I think both books stand well on their own so there’s no need to read one before the other. I can’t even remember the details in Saving Francesca while I was reading The Piper’s Son (which I regret. I will reread both books consecutively in the future). I love Melina Marchetta and Jellicoe Road is actually one of the books that encouraged me to read more contemporary YA.

Here’s the summary from Melina Marchetta’s website:

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 realizes that his family and friends need him to help put the pieces back together as much as he needs them.

How about that Aussie cover? I think it’s lovely and I wanted to get a copy of it. I feel like the US edition is marketed for a younger audience when The Piper’s Son doesn’t read like a YA novel. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find a way to get it so I went ahead and ordered the US edition because I’ve been waiting to read this for a while now. Let me just say that it was totally worth the wait! There’s something about Melina Marchetta’s books and her writing that makes the characters come alive and it makes you want to squeeze yourself into each close-knit group and beg to be included. That’s how I felt when I read Jellicoe Road and again when I finished The Piper’s Son. I wanted to become a part of their world, I wanted to feel all that love and yes, even the heartbreak and the pain that go with it. I can’t get over how amazing Melina Marchetta is as a writer because she can really make you feel. Her books can make you laugh and cry and care about her characters to the point that you become fully invested in them. You feel like you’re experiencing everything that her characters are going through and even when they’re mostly difficult situations, you’ll still love every minute of it. The Piper’s Son is an achingly beautiful book that manages to do just that.

Tom is such a broken person at the start of the book and you just hurt for him and his family. The point of view changes from Tom to his aunt Georgie and the reader gets a clearer picture of each family member and most of their friends because of this. The Piper’s Son is about grief and the slow healing process that goes with it. The characters were fully fleshed out, even the secondary ones, and Melina Marchetta shows how a person’s actions and feelings affect the people around him or her. It reminds me of ripples in water and how they spread out to bigger areas. In my opinion, this book perfectly describes how complicated different kinds of relationships are. Family, friendships and romantic relationships – all of these are highlighted and illustrated in this book. Even if there’s a lot of love involved, people are bound to make mistakes that they’ll regret and it’s a matter of knowing when something is worth fighting for and when someone deserves to be forgiven. Music is also a huge aspect of this book because a lot of the characters are into it. I’ve never been a big music geek but this book made me want to make a playlist and look up all of the songs mentioned in it. If it isn’t obvious yet, I loved this book to bits. It’s all kinds of wonderful. If you haven’t had a chance to pick this up, I urge you to READ IT. After finishing this book, I couldn’t stop thinking about it and I had one of those “THIS is why I read!” moments.

Side note: Does anyone know if Ben the Violinist in this one is the same Ben from Jellicoe Road? If yes, then that’s awesome. -> Adele and Nomes have confirmed that this is indeed true.

Other reviews: (manually generated)
Random Musings of a Bibliophile
Irresistible Reads
Persnickety Snark review and interview
ALPHA reader
Bibliophile Brouhaha

31 thoughts on “The Piper’s Son by Melina Marchetta

  1. yes ~ it’s the same Ben from Jellicoe πŸ™‚


    And I just completely love your review and am so glad it’s a fave read of yours this year. It came out over a year ago in Australia and it was a fave of mine last year and after recently re-reading it, it’s become an all time favourite πŸ™‚

    • Oooh I love that it’s the same Ben from Jellicoe! Maybe Melina Marchetta could write about Justine and Ben so we get more glimpses of both sets of characters. πŸ˜€

      I’ve wanted to read this ever since I found out that it was already out in Australia but I couldn’t find a way to get it. I pre-ordered it from the Book Depository this year and I’m really happy I finally got to read it. It’s amazing, definitely a favorite now. πŸ™‚

  2. I love the enthusiasm in this post. πŸ™‚ I’ll have to take note of this — I still need to crack open my Marchetta books. I will do that soon, I promise (same with the MWT ones hehe).

    Happy birthday again Chachic! πŸ™‚

      • I know, I feel bad for that! To think I love contemporary more than fantasy. I have Jellicoe Road and Saving Francesca at home — I’ll get to them ASAP. πŸ™‚

    • You know, I’m actually a bit jealous that you haven’t read any Melina Marchetta or Megan Whalen Turner book because you have that much awesomeness waiting for you. Can’t wait to hear what you think of them. πŸ˜›

      Thanks again for the birthday greetings (plural for all the social network sites)!

    • It’s now one of my favorites as well! I am hoping that it becomes available locally so I can buy copies and give them as gifts like I’ve done with Jellicoe.

  3. Happy birthday ulit, Chachic! I absolutely love Jellicoe Road. I love how Ms Marchetta deals with emotions in her books. This is definitely going on my Want Books list. πŸ˜‰

    • Thanks Chris! πŸ™‚ If you loved Jellicoe Road then I have a feeling you’re going to love this one as well. Can’t wait for you to read it. Sad that we have to order copies from online bookstores to get it though.

  4. Happy Birthday Chachic!

    This is such a wonderful review. I STILL haven’t read any of Melina Marchetta’s books though(I promise I will when I need another contemporary YA read).

    Adding this to my wishlist.:)

    • Thanks Celina!

      Hey, that might actually be a good thing because you can read Jellicoe, Francesca and then The Piper’s Son one right after the other. In that way, the details are still fresh in your mind while you read the other books. πŸ™‚

  5. Happy, Happy Birthday to you!!

    And I’m so glad this was a winner for you on your birthday – I too have been salivating over that UK edition but think I’ll settle for any copy as long as I can read Marchetta’s latest. Can’t wait to read it, maybe in the mean time I’ll go reread JELLICO if it’s really the same Ben…

    • Thanks Michelle!

      It IS the same Ben from Jellicoe, I’ve gotten confirmation from several sources. I think you were one of the people who convinced me to read Jellicoe last year? So thank you very much for introducing me to Melina Marchetta. I hope you get to read this one soon and that you’ll love it just as much as I did.

    • I actually wanted to delete that part because I wasn’t sure if it went with the whole review but it really did remind me of ripples. You’ll get what I mean when you read this. πŸ™‚


    This book is wonderful! So so wonderful.

    I loved the whole thing with Ben in it too. And the “retarded lookalikes” who I’m sure are the Mullet Brothers. And then one of them says “Back home, the girls are going to be like, ‘Did you ask her out, Ben? Did you? Did you?’ And we’re going to spend the whole time in therapy with him.” (p. 303) It was a nice little acknowledgment of whole community in Jellicoe and it made me want to hug the book.

    • Thanks Brandy!

      Yep, it’s wonderful. They ARE the Mullet Brothers too! I know what you mean, I was so excited when I noticed that little tidbit and so grateful to Melina Marchetta for giving that to us. In my mind, Taylor and Jonah are still together just like Francesca and Will are. πŸ˜€

  7. Happy birthday! I hope you have a great one!

    It is always fun to get to post a review of a wonderful book you love, especially for your birthday! πŸ™‚

  8. I absolutely love this book. Melina Marchetta is one of the most gifted writers I’ve ever read. I think she is stunningly brilliant. Beautiful review.

    • She really is such a gifted writer – I call her the queen of Aussie YA because even though there are so many amazing YA novels from down under, I still think Melina Marchetta’s are the best. πŸ˜›

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  15. as an australian, it is lovely to see non-aussie’s read melina and still have a love and fascination with the way music is used in her books. I’ve read other reviews that cringe at the use of australian music references. (how dare they, the brits and the yanks do it all the time and we still put up with it) You just have to listen to Paul Kelly’s “How to Make Gravy”, mentioned in the Pipers Son. Apart from being a generally fantastic song writer in general, PK manages to express the views, values and concerns of much of Australia. So the emotional impact of this song particularly, on an Australian audience is heart-wrenching. btw I’m just so happy that Ben and the Mullet brothers made a return in Pipers Son, it is one of the books many elements to savour.

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