A brilliant, heart-wrenching novel about families, love and forgiveness from the internationally bestselling and multi-award-winning author of Looking for Alibrandi, Melina Marchetta.
Melina Marchetta is the author of Looking for Alibrandi, Saving Francesca, On the Jellicoe Road, and Finnikin of the Rock.
This tender sequel to Saving Francesca focuses on Francesca's friend, Thomas Finch Mackee, whose family is being torn apart by tragedy. Two years ago when Tom's young uncle was killed by a suicide bomber, Tom's father ("He was a drinker, Dom was. Always had been") lost control, causing his mother to leave town with his younger sister. Tom dropped out of his university-and abandoned his tight-knit circle of friends-while his aunt Georgie has yet to acknowledge that she is pregnant by her ex-partner. There is a lot of backstory, and readers may initially have trouble sorting out the pieces. But the story that unfolds through Tom and Georgie's alternating points of view is powerful and tragic, revealing a wonderful and realistically flawed family working hard to fix its deep damage. Marchetta masterfully demonstrates the depth of emotion-and love-the characters feel, sometimes in small but moving moments. The ending may wrap up somewhat neatly, but readers who make this intense journey with Tom and Georgie will feel they deserve the sweet resolutions. Ages 14-up. (Mar.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Gr 9 Up-Melina Marchetta returns to her characters from Saving Francesca (Knopf, 2006) in this stand alone companion (Candlewick, 2010), only this time it's Tom Mackee and his family that need saving. Five years have slipped by and grief is slowly and successfully tearing apart the Mackee family. Two years earlier, Tom's uncle Joe was killed on his way to work by a terrorist's bomb. Tom's father, Dominic, always a heavy drinker, seeks solace from the bottle. Tom's mother decides to leave home with his younger sister for their safety, leaving Tom to care for Dom. Tom, too, seeks escape, and slides into the numbing world of a drug and alcohol induced haze until the day he hits rock bottom. Abandoned by his flatmates, he's homeless, with only his unwed, pregnant aunt Georgie willing to help. Tom is certain "the Mackees can't be put back together again. There are too many pieces missing." But can they? Yes, one piece at a time. Told in alternating views by Tom and Georgie, Marchetta spins a stunning tale about the consequences and joys of belonging to a family. It is a no-holds-barred look into the taunting demons of grief, betrayal, and bitterness and the restorative powers of love. Narrator Michael Finney offers a perfect blend of gruff swagger with the lilt of an Aussie accent to bring to life the eclectic cast of characters. A must-have.-Cheryl Preisendorfer, Twinsburg City Schools, OH (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
"Tom's aunt Georgie spoke to me first, and Tom found me through
her. At the time, I didn't actually think Tom was a big enough
character to carry a story. If it had to be anyone from Saving
Francesca, I thought, it would be Will Trombal or Tara. But the
line in Francesca, 'I want to be the first male in the Mackee
family to reach 40 and still have a liver' stuck with me, and in
the end, Tom has been one of the biggest surprises. I'm glad I
didn't kick him out of my head."
- Melina Marchetta -- Quote