Title: Labor Day
Author: Joyce Maynard
Publisher: William Morrow; Reprint edition (July 28, 2009)
Pages: 241 Pages
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Source: Amazon Book Page
Rating: 5 Stars
With the end of summer closing in and a steamy Labor Day weekend looming in the town of Holton Mills, New Hampshire, thirteen-year-old Henry—lonely, friendless, not too good at sports—spends most of his time watching television, reading, and daydreaming about the soft skin and budding bodies of his female classmates. For company Henry has his long-divorced mother, Adele—a onetime dancer whose summer project was to teach him how to foxtrot; his hamster, Joe; and awkward Saturday-night outings to Friendly’s with his estranged father and new stepfamily. As much as he tries, Henry knows that even with his jokes and his “Husband for a Day” coupon, he still can’t make his emotionally fragile mother happy. Adele has a secret that makes it hard for her to leave their house, and seems to possess an irreparably broken heart.
But all that changes on the Thursday before Labor Day, when a mysterious bleeding man named Frank approaches Henry and asks for a hand. Over the next five days, Henry will learn some of life’s most valuable lessons: how to throw a baseball, the secret to perfect piecrust, the breathless pain of jealousy, the power of betrayal, and the importance of putting others—especially those we love—above ourselves. And the knowledge that real love is worth waiting for.
In a manner evoking Ian McEwan’s Atonement and Nick Hornby’s About a Boy, acclaimed author Joyce Maynard weaves a beautiful, poignant tale of love, sex, adolescence, and devastating treachery as seen through the eyes of a young teenage boy—and the man he later becomes—looking back at an unexpected encounter that begins one single long, hot, life-altering weekend.
I didn’t love this book in the traditional raving lunatic groupie sense of the word. I loved it because in many ways I could relate. Lost little Henry trying and for the most part needing to grow up faster than is required. A bitter divorce sets his world spiraling out of control and isn’t helped at all with his Mom, Adele, becoming a recluse. For Adele it was more than the marriage that made her pull back from the world, from life. The book was written from Henry’s point of view. It was peppered with the trials and tribulations of puberty, confusion and the fact that oh my mom picked up a convict from the market and doesn’t think its weird. Adele looks at like so much more differently than most and while most would have been concerned at the facts before her eyes she was not. She concerns me a bit at first but i learn to love her and her outlook. This wasn’t a typically written novel to me. It was slower, steadier, and made for a sweet lazy afternoon. This was a story meant for growing. You saw Henry grow, Adele blossomed, even Henry’s father, whose name I can’t remember, evolves into a better person. Henry makes mistakes with the innocence of a child who doesn’t know any better and gratefully (well I am grateful) his Mom loves him silently and never wavers in her love even though he wrought destruction upon her small bubble of perfection. I loved this book the way I love ice cream. Yes, ice cream. I love it without all the pomp and sass of a typical romance novel. Loved it like a cup of hot tea on a cold rainy day. This book just washes over you and hugs you. Full of happiness, sadness, love, acceptance, confusion, fear, and hope. There is always hope whether its in the mind of a teenage boy or the desperate convict. It will be a book I will read in a year or two and love it still. I have not seen the movie yet but i will and I’ll write a review on the movie too probably. 🙂
Please do Read this novel. It is amazing and wonderful. Certainly a change of pace from what I usually read. I bought the physical copy for this one, my boyfriend bough it for valentine’s day because he is too sweet, I’m glad that I had the physical though. Turning the pages gave me an even deeper emotional experience. If you do buy the Kindle edition it is $3.99 on amazon.