Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Labor Day” as Want to Read:
Labor Day
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Labor Day

3.54  ·  Rating Details  ·  25,881 Ratings  ·  2,987 Reviews
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 ...more
Hardcover, 244 pages
Published July 28th 2009 by William Morrow & Company (first published 2009)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Labor Day, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Labor Day

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
4.5 Stars

Just wow. I've met Ms Maynard too late in my life!

This story would have been better for me, had I not watched the movie first. I liked both. I dare say I would have been obsessed with the book and rated a resounding 5 stars had I not been privy to the screen play prior to the novel. But this is okay with me, it just changed the route to get to the ending, in a way.

The author added a handful of pages at the end, entitled “Don’t Try This at Home: How I Came to Write This Novel”. This is h
Feb 26, 2010 Barbara rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Merilee
I must comment that early in my reading of this book, I was contemplating that it would be deserving of a 3 star rating. I certainly was in error, because as I progressed the story became richer and more nuanced. When finally I reached the denouement I realized that I held in my hands a beautiful, evocative gem, which had brought me to tears.

Labor Day is the tale of a fourteen year old boy, Henry, who lives in isolation with his long-divorced, emotionally fragile mother. On one of their rare out
Will Byrnes
Feb 01, 2014 Will Byrnes rated it really liked it
Henry is a 13-year-old living with his pet hamster, Joe, and his agoraphobic, damaged mother at the end of a cul-de-sac in Holton Mills, New Hampshire. He sees his father on Saturday nights for unappetizing outings to Friendly’s with dad’s new family. Henry is small, unathletic and on the lower steps of the social ladder at school. But changes are afoot. His body is changing in obvious ways and his interests are beginning to point, sometimes embarrassingly so, toward girls. Life takes a turn on ...more
Carol [Goodreads Addict]
Feb 22, 2014 Carol [Goodreads Addict] rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Carol [Goodreads Addict] by: Branwen
I have not seen the movie yet of Labor Day by Joyce Maynard, but I’ve seen enough movie trailers that I could read the book with the visuals of Josh Brolin and Kate Winslet in my head. About at the half way point if asked, I would have rated the book 4 stars. But somewhere in that last half when everything was happening, my heart was lost. 5 huge and well deserved stars is the rating I am giving this book.

Henry is thirteen years old. He lives with his somewhat dysfunctional mother, Adele. Adele
May 15, 2014 Jen rated it did not like it
Shelves: didn-t-finish
I really, really tried. I got to page 88 and just gave up. The plot is contrived and I was just beginning to be able to suspend the disbelief necessary to get into the book, when I gave up on trying to be able to figure out who was speaking and/or thinking.

It is completely pretentious to write an entire book with a ton of dialogue and NOT use proper punctuation to indicate who is speaking and who is having inner dialogue. I get it, I get it, it's a big bad impressive way to write, but only if d
Kasa Cotugno
Dec 20, 2014 Kasa Cotugno rated it really liked it
Shelves: author-visit
There is a metaphor at the heart of this book, that of the creation of an upper crust for a peach pie and the difficulties encountered when the hands are shaky and the weather is humid. It must be handled delicately and involves a little magic. Such magic is present when a stranger who also happens to be an escaped convict lands in the house of a 13 year old self-described "loser" and his agoraphobic mother, both of whom could use a great deal of help. If the setup sounds a little too facile, th ...more
Mar 28, 2016 Carmen rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: No one
Recommended to Carmen by: Movie
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jacquelyn Arseneau
Jan 31, 2014 Jacquelyn Arseneau rated it it was ok
Shelves: terrible
This book was GOD AWFUL!!! First the descriptions from Henry about listening to his mother have sex were just distrubing. I don't think any child would describe this to anyone and there was just no point in the book that it was even necessary.

I wanted to love this book so much! I saw the preview for the upcoming movie and decided this would be a great read. It is told by Henry a 13 year old boy. An injured man (Frank) approaches Henry in a convenience store asking for help. Once getting home the
Sep 23, 2014 Kinga rated it really liked it
There are a few reasons why I listened to this book.
1) It’s called ‘Labor Day’ and I listened to it on the Labor Day. This one is actually more of a coincidence than an actual reason but let’s put it there anyway.
2) It takes place in New Hampshire in early September, which is when I arrived in New Hampshire twelve years ago to spend a year there. This is the nostalgia reason.
3) I suppose I’ll come clean and say it: the audiobook is read by Wilson Bethel who looks like this:
I fancied the idea of
Well written and mildly satisfying, Labor Day is a very quick read. In fact, I read it just this afternoon after hiking. A suspicious stranger, who turns out to be an escaped prisoner, approaches a young boy and his mother for a ride while they're out shopping. They take him in, he offers to help around the house, and interesting bonds form. The mother is your standard borderline character, suffering from depression and desiring isolation. Her son is a typical teenage product of divorce, steppin ...more
Nov 02, 2010 Judith rated it did not like it
Joyce Maynard caught my interest years ago with the publication of her memoir about her life with J.D. Salinger. At the time she was widely vilified for exposing an intimate picture of an author who is practically a national treasure. I found that book fascinating, well-written and I had no problem with her sharing her story with the world. By the time I finished that book I had more respect for Maynard than for Salinger.

Labor Day is my first experience with her fiction and I found it hilarious
Jan 21, 2011 Jaime rated it liked it
Shelves: general_fiction, 2011
I had mixed feelings about this book. In one way, it’s a gentle story about love and a teenaged boy who has had to be the adult for way too long. On the other hand, it feels a little contrived. A woman and her son bring into their home a strange man without even a flicker of worry or doubt or suspicion? Even before they find out he’s an escaped convict, you’d expect the situation to raise some flags. But, if you can accept the premise, the story of their Labor Day weekend does its job to pull yo ...more
Mar 25, 2015 SUSAN rated it really liked it
A young boys coming of age story.Two lost souls finding each other.A sweet,sad love story. Very well written. Wonderful characters,that stay in character. Just a good,solid book. I highly recommend it.
Branwen Sedai *of the White Ajah*
"She was in love with love. She couldn't do anything partway. She felt everything too deeply, it was like the world was too much for her."

This story details the momentous events that take place over the course of Labor Day weekend when Adele and her teenage son Henry, bring a fugitive into their homes and their lives.

I literally just finished this book a few moments ago, and I am still such an emotional mess right now that I should probably have waited to write this review but I wanted it to be
Aug 04, 2009 Laurel-Rain rated it it was amazing
From the very beginning of “Labor Day,” the reader is immersed in the mind, emotions and everyday life of a thirteen-year-old boy during one memorable Labor Day weekend. All told from the first-person narrator Henry.

Living in a small New Hampshire town, Henry is miserably aware of his limitations and those of his family members—from his mother, who is almost an agoraphobic, to his father whose new family with his new wife and new kids has no idea how to relate to him. Their stilted Saturday even
Feb 15, 2009 Jackie rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Jackie by: Tavia Kowalchuk from HarperCollins
This is only a bound manuscript at this point, but I believe it's scheduled for late summer 2009 publication.

I haven't read anything by Maynard before, but she's certainly on my list of authors to read more of now. This story, which I easily devoured in a lazy day at home, is touching on so many levels. Told through the eyes of a 13 year old boy, it's the story of five days when an escaped criminal comes to live with him and his mom, changing their lives forever. Henry feels responsible for his
Celeste Corrêa
" A verdadeira droga, viria a acreditar, era o amor. Um amor raro, para o qual nenhuma explicação poderia ser encontrada. Um homem lançou-se da janela de um segundo andar e correu, a sangrar, para dentro de uma loja. Uma mulher levou-o de carro para casa. Eram duas pessoas que não podiam sair para o mundo, que criaram um mundo uma com a outra, no interior das finíssimas paredes da nossa velha casa amarela. Durante quase seis dias, agarraram-se um ao outro com todas as suas forças. Durante dezano ...more
Mar 23, 2014 Rachel rated it it was ok
Shelves: fiction
This is the stupidest book I've read in recent memory, and I'm not all that discriminating a reader, so that's saying something. To be fair, the last 60 or 70 pages are reasonably affecting, but everything leading up to that: pee yew.

Narrated by 13-year-old Henry (who is prone to saying things like, "My body had been changing. ... [H]air had started to grow under my arms, and lower down too, in the place I had no words for." NO WORDS FOR.) who lives alone with his mother Adele, a borderline agor
Sep 11, 2010 Naomi rated it really liked it
I was shocked how much I enjoyed this book. When I first started to read it, I thought "three stars...It is ok, not great." As I progressed with the book, the author drew me into the characters so much, I actually felt myself having sympathy for the escaped prisoner and hoping he would get a second chance at life. Now that is some good writing!
Mar 25, 2016 Cher rated it liked it
2.5 stars - It was alright, an average book.

This was a fast and interesting read with a unique plot, which also doubled as literary birth control. I truly am so impressed by parents of typical teenagers that remain sane, and refuse to believe that I was ever one of those typical teenagers.

This was a plot driven read, but with memorable, unique characters. While it was compelling, I find myself struggling to find many things to say about it.

Favorite Qu
Aletha Dunston
Jan 31, 2014 Aletha Dunston rated it it was ok
Spoiler alert: I didn't like it. I'd give it 2.5 stars.
I think it was slightly creepy to hear about a one-weekend stand through the eyes of a 13 year old son. I also hope 13 year olds are not as naive as the one in the book. He made so many wild assumptions and floated through the story like a whiny, useless lump.
I liked the mother character, but am not convinced it isn't because I know Kate Winslet is playing the character in the movie and she's so good! I would have rather read a book from t
Ashley Hill
Feb 19, 2014 Ashley Hill rated it really liked it
In the beginning I really wanted to dislike this book. I look at this mother and think how could you put your child in this situation. But somehow, through all the cracks and flaws in this novel a beautiful & heartfelt story emerged. This is one of those novels that you have to lay your judgment aside and just get swept away in the world of the narrator. That is really the only way you will enjoy this piece. It is sad, borders on mental instability, but at the root of it all is love.
Jeanette  "Astute Crabbist"
There were things I liked about this book, but overall it was just okay. I might have rated it three stars except that I lost patience with the boy's obsession with his emerging sexuality. Enough, already! We get it! I did like the stuff about baking a pie, though. :)

One good quote:

"I wondered if what it took to make a person hate another person the way she seemed to hate my father now was having once loved him in equal measure."
Mar 27, 2014 Laura rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Maynard does a very nice job pulling you into this story. At first I didn't know if this plot or narrator were believable but by the end you believe every word as the gospel truth. How can you dispute this characters experiences? Lovely story but heartbreaking at times. You might be surprised with how the author wraps it up. Nice, easy read.
Sep 01, 2009 Nely rated it it was amazing
Shelves: own, giveaway-win
This book was so beautiful. I hope I can do it the justice it deserves in explaining how wonderful and how highly recommended this book comes from me.

Henry is much more mature than your average 13 year old boy, but at the same time he is innocent and naive. Frank and Adele are both tortured souls, but it was inspiring to read about the relationship they forge in the six days most of the story takes place within. I really enjoyed the way these characters unraveled by slow increments giving you sm
Apr 16, 2013 Margaret rated it it was ok
I felt like an observer of events as I read this book. I never became involved with the characters or with their situation.
Told from the voice of 13 year old Henry, this is the story of his unstable mother and a mysterious man who comes to spend the 6 days leading up to Labor Day with them. Henry lives with his mother who has withdrawn from life, staying at home as much as possible and avoiding any personal contact with anyone other than Henry when possible until the day Henry and his mother are
Dec 31, 2015 Lynn rated it it was amazing
I read this a year or so after it was released and loved it. Can't believe I have never entered a review for it on Goodreads before now. Honestly, after reading the synopsis, I couldn't imagine an author who might pull this off and make it believable, but Maynard is more than capable of that and she accomplished it brilliantly, in my opinion!
Aug 20, 2009 Mary rated it it was amazing
Shelves: first-reads
I started reading this book at 10 PM and I just could not put it down.
Labor Day is such a family day. It is idylic in American life; it is the last breath of that carefree Summer. Except there is nothing carefree about Henry and his family and Labor Day changes their lives.

A sad adolescent boy and his depressed mother meet a convict at the discount store and take him home with them. What happens in the next few days makes for a great story. These characters are real and the reader "comes of age"
Sharon Powers
May 21, 2014 Sharon Powers rated it really liked it
Book Review by: Sharon Powers.

I am always fascinated by the process of turning a major novel into a film. Even though I'm always fascinated, I usually end by admitting that I like the book more than the movie. Yes, I do realize that a film maker might have different considerations for the crafting of a visual story than does the author for creating a story since the scenes will only be seen as images in a reader's mind. Nonetheless, it remains fascinating to me and, if I'm honest, I am happy th
Joy (joyous reads)
Jan 29, 2014 Joy (joyous reads) rated it really liked it
When Buzzfeed released a list of 16 Books to Read Before They Hit Theatres This Year, I drove like a madwoman to my bookstore. Readily, I picked up a couple in that list: this one, and the hefty, Winter's Tale by Mark Helprin.

It didn't take very long for me to get sucked into the hermitic lives of Adele and her son, Henry. It was a story of a mother's ongoing struggle with depression and the coming of age story of a boy. Together, they both find what they needed when they least expect it. So fo
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Fiction Fanatics: May 2014 - Labor Day 13 31 Dec 07, 2014 07:20AM  
Reviews 7 39 Nov 25, 2014 05:50AM  
Reviews 1 7 Jul 21, 2014 12:33PM  
Book or Movie; Yo...: January Book and Movie 24 50 May 18, 2014 03:53PM  
Coffee Talk: March 2014, BOM, Labor Day 41 41 May 13, 2014 03:01PM  
16 Books for 2014: Labor day 1 11 Mar 05, 2014 09:42AM  
  • Serena
  • Winter's Tale
  • The Hundred-Foot Journey
  • Admission
  • Hold Love Strong
  • The Wife's Tale
  • The Company You Keep
  • The Monuments Men: Allied Heroes, Nazi Thieves, and the Greatest Treasure Hunt in History
  • Father of the Rain
  • Long Drive Home
  • The Rope Walk
  • Pengantin Demos Vol. 3
  • The Stuff That Never Happened
  • The Town That Drowned
  • Her Sister's Shadow
  • While I'm Falling
  • A Long Way Down
  • Real Life & Liars
Joyce Maynard first came to national attention with the publication of her New York Times cover story “An Eighteen-Year-Old Looks Back on Life” in 1973, when she was a freshman at Yale. Since then, she has been a reporter and columnist for The New York Times, a syndicated newspaper columnist whose “Domestic Affairs” column appeared in more than fifty papers nationwide, a regular contributor to NPR ...more
More about Joyce Maynard...

Share This Book

“She felt everything too deeply, it was like the world was too much for her.” 84 likes
“The real drug, I came to believe, was love.” 19 likes
More quotes…