Steven's Reviews > Labor Day

Labor Day by Joyce Maynard
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's review
Jan 28, 2011

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bookshelves: novels
Read in January, 2011

Joyce Maynard's Labor Day is a seriously flawed book, a disappointment in so many ways. But...

The book is written from the viewpoint of a 13 year old boy except for the last 30 pages. She manages to write that quite convincingly. There seemed to be honesty in the emotions expressed. Some of the characters are three dimensional, though most aren't.

So what are the flaws. Frank is a saint, not a bad bone in his body. Everybody has a few bad bones. The timing is far too condensed, only 6 days. But many books that have a romantic edge commit the same error.

Then I think the editor should be shot. There were whole chunks of the story that really felt like they had been chopped out. They'd been written and then dropped, particularly some references to baseball. In a particularly egregious error, cellos don't have frets! So the editor thinks that the guitar which Ms. Maynard had originally written was too plebeian. “Let's change it to a cello”. At least do the follow up work.

But with all of that, the story resolves in better ways than it might have. And there are interests maintained. I can't recommend it. But I can't trash it, despite its flaws.

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