Labor Day
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Labor Day

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3.53 of 5 stars 3.53  ·  rating details  ·  19,022 ratings  ·  2,562 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)
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Will Byrnes
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
Barbara
Feb 26, 2010 Barbara rated it 4 of 5 stars
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...more
Carol [Goodreads addict]
Feb 22, 2014 Carol [Goodreads addict] rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  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...more
Jen
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...more
Kasa Cotugno
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
Jacquelyn Arseneau
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...more
Sarah
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
Judith
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...more
Laurel-Rain
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...more
Jaime
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
Jackie
Feb 15, 2009 Jackie rated it 5 of 5 stars
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...more
Branwen *Blaidd Drwg*
"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...more
Cher
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...more
Naomi
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!
Aletha Dunston
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...more
Ashley Hill
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.
Laura
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.
Joy (joyous reads)
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...more
Margaret
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...more
Kinga
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:
Wilson
I fancied the idea of...more
Mary
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"...more
Jason
Having recently read both the book and watched the movie, I believe myself to be fully immersed in all things Henry, Frank and Adele.

On the book: It is amazing. It is told from Henry's point of view over the Labor Day weekend that he and his mother spend with a convicted murderer that has sort of taken them hostage. I know, it sounds kind of dire, but it's not that way. We learn that Frank is a person just like everyone else, in fact more than most people could hope to be.

The story is epic in...more
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."
Rachel
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...more
Nely
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...more
Sharon Powers
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...more
Barbara
I picked up this book because it’s going to be made into a movie in 2014, with Kate Winslet. If the movie follows the book, it will be a great movie. Maynard knows how to write not only a fabulous story, she writes incredible sentences. Reading her work is like watching a beautiful movie. In this novel, an escaped convict comes upon a sad and lonely divorcee and her teenage son. Told from Henry’s, the teenage son, point of view, his mother, Adele is cast in a morose and damaged light. Adele is b...more
Christine
Narrated by 12-year-old Henry, this is the story of one rather unbelievable Labour Day weekend. Henry and his mother Adele live a rather secluded life in Holton Hills, New Hampshire. Adele has never fully recovered from a divorce and Henry has taken over many of the “man” duties in their lives. One afternoon outside Pricemart Henry meets Frank Chambers, an escaped convict. Instinctively sensing that he could trust this man Henry introduces him to his mother and Frank (promising never to hurt eit...more
Ashley Brevil
A social worker's dream! Plenty of work to be done in this family but an excellent example of love. Pure love despite life's challenges never fails.
Rachel
I did it! I finished my May book. Lol
It was nothing to do with the book itself that I had to take a highly unusual break in reading due to a family emergency. However, after I was wanting to get back to reading it WAS difficult to pick back up but both this and a second book I was just about half thru as well and I'm not sure the reason. I suspect in both cases I was not at a critical point in the book and in fact both were at some lull in the action.
I do feel there was a bit of a drag in the...more
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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...
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“She felt everything too deeply, it was like the world was too much for her.” 69 likes
“The real drug, I came to believe, was love.” 18 likes
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