Because who can afford books in this economy?

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Joint Review: Saving Francesca and The Piper's Son by Melina Marchetta

Title: Saving Francesca
Author: Melina Marchetta
Published: May, 2006
Source: The Library
Synopsis from Goodreads:
Francesca is stuck at St. Sebastians, a boys' school that's pretends it's coed by giving the girls their own bathroom.  Her only female companions are an ultra-feminist, a rumored slut, and an an impossibly dorky accordion player.  The boys are no better, from Thomas who specializes in musical burping to Will, the perpetually frowning, smug moron that Francesca can't seem to stop thinking about.

Then there's Francesca's mother, who always thinks she knows what's best for Francesca—until she is suddenly stricken with acute depression, leaving Francesca lost, alone, and without an inkling who she really is.  Simultaneously humorous, poignant, and impossible to put down, this is the story of a girl who must summon the strength to save her family, her social life and—hardest of all—herself.

Title: The Piper's Son
Author: Melina Marchetta
Published: March, 2011
Source: The Library
Synopsis from Goodreads:
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.

I read these books back to back, and as there set in the same universe I didn't see the harm in reviewing them at the same time. Melina Marchetta is a truly spectacular author. I am so happy her books are available in the United States because she is now one of my favorites. It all started when I read Jellicoe Road. Now I know that if it's by Melina Marchetta it's bound to be amazing.

Saving Francesca and The Piper's Son both have a quiet grace. Honestly, the stories really aren't very remarkable. The lives of both Francesca and Tom aren't especially extraordinary. They don't have special powers, or an undead love interest, and they both live in the present. The characters are what make these books special. They are so defined, so real, that I feel like I know them. And oh, how I feel for them.

Both Francesca and Tom have had hard things in their lives. Francesca has to deal with her mothers depression, as well as going to a mostly boys school. Tom's uncle died because of a suicide bomber. Both of these things affect more than just Francesca and Tom, they affect their entire families. These books aren't just about the main characters dealing with these things, they're about their families and friends as well.

I'm not a huge fan of third person narrating, as you may know. Somehow Marchetta makes me like it. I feel the same connection with the characters I would if it was in first person, which is quite a feat. Something remarkable is not only can I tolerate third person when reading these books, I actually view it as an advantage. Most of the books I've stopped reading before finishing are told in third person. This is a huge deal.

To say that I enjoyed these books is an understatement. I adored, loved, and devoured these books. Melina Marchetta is now cemented on my list of favorite authors, and I'm definitely going to read everything she ever writes. So, if you have yet to read one of her books I suggest you do, and soon!

Saving Francesca:
Characters: 10/10
Plot: 9/10
Originality: 10/10
Writing: 10/10
Ending: 10/10
Overall: 49/50 A+

The Piper's Son:
Characters: 9/10
Plot: 8/10
Originality: 10/10
Writing: 10/10
Ending: 10/10
Overall: 47/50 A

1 comment:

  1. Great review!
    I read the first book back in highschool..don't remember if I liked
    it or not..haha.


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