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Labor Day

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3.56  ·  Rating details ·  29,562 Ratings  ·  3,272 Reviews
Joyce Maynard, acclaimed author of At Home in the World, is back with Labor Day. The  unforgettable story of a mother and son forever changed during a long summer weekend when a mysterious man comes into their lives. 
Paperback, 244 pages
Published August 3rd 2010 by William Morrow Paperbacks (first published 2009)
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Will Byrnes
Jul 21, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
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
PorshaJo
I'm a recent fan of Joyce Maynard and just want to read all of her books now. But I should probably slowly, savor them. For years I have wanted to read this one, but it stayed in my pile. The movie came out, and I never watched it, because I wanted to read the book first. I said I was going to wait to read this one since it was her highest rated GR book. But I'm unpredictable about reads.

Labor Day tells the story of one long, steamy Labor Day weekend told from the point of view of Henry. It's t
...more
Suzanne
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
...more
Barbara
Aug 18, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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]
Dec 29, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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
Vanessa
May 18, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A solid enjoyable read. I enjoyed the storyline, who cares if a little unbelievable. It was good to have the story told from the point of view of 13 year old Henry, even if some of that pre pubescent teenage musings got a little awkward. I loved Adele, you feel her sadness, she's a great character and I can understand how she fell for the charming con on the loose, the element of danger and being a recluse made him seem very compelling, you kind of wanted her to have a happy ending even under th ...more
Elyse
Jul 22, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If people saw the movie....
Even 'with' a talented cast.., it's not nearly as good as the book!!!!
Kasa Cotugno
Jun 30, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Karen
Jan 20, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

Very good book..I hope the movie is as well done....
Bianca
%@#&$^
I wrote my review directly on GR, (I know, I know, it's a bad habit) and when I clicked post, it all went crazy.

So here we go again, penning a quick review as I've got to dash out.

As you can see, I truly enjoyed this audiobook. These days, due to my huge TBR list, I rarely read books made into movies that I watched. BTW, I thought the movie was pretty good, despite Josh Brolin (he's a good actor, but I'm not a fan). I hadn't read Maynard and upon seeing this audiobook at the library it
...more
Jen
Jan 05, 2014 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
Carmen
Sep 20, 2014 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: No one
Recommended to Carmen by: Movie
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Wendy
Mar 16, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 4000-books, mar-17
I knew I had to read this book after seeing the trailer to the movie.
And now that I have read this beautifully written novel I hope the movie does it justice.
I watched the movie last night and although I enjoyed it very much I enjoyed the book 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
Kinga
Jul 17, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Paul
Jun 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: romantics
Very easy read, delightful character development, and not too wordy. A love story wrapped in a coming of age story with a smidgen of a thriller. I might have the measurements a little mixed up, could be more of a thriller with a smidgen of a love story. ;-D
Judith
Nov 02, 2010 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Camie
Jan 10, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The lives of thirteen year old Henry Wheeler, a lonely outcast, and his mother Adele, an emotionally fragile , reclusive, and also lonely woman , are about to change as they risk showing kindness to a stranger with a secret past. Spanning 6 days including Labor Day , this is a love story and coming of age story, and most recently a movie with Kate Winslet and Josh Brollin. I especially like the last chapters which are beautifully written. Is it wrong to try and grasp a bit of happiness , given t ...more
Joan
Dec 26, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-on-cd
Another wonderful book by Joyce Maynard written mostly from the point of a teenager. Very well written and I’m sorry to be finished with it. I wish it could have gone on and on. I actually rate this 4.5. I listened to this book every chance I got and couldn’t wait to get back to it. I love her writing style. If this were a bookclub book I think there would be plenty to discuss. As with her other book this felt like a true story. I don’t want to include any spoilers so I won’t talk about the stor ...more
SUSAN   *Nevertheless,she persisted*
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
...more
Laurel-Rain
Jul 30, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Rachel
Mar 23, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
Jackie
Feb 14, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Naomi Blackburn
Sep 02, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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!
Laura
Jan 29, 2014 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.
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
Jan 09, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
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Fiction Fanatics: May 2014 - Labor Day 13 34 Dec 07, 2014 07:20AM  
Reviews 7 39 Nov 25, 2014 05:50AM  
Reviews 1 7 Jul 21, 2014 12:33PM  
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1,113 followers
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
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“She felt everything too deeply, it was like the world was too much for her.” 96 likes
“The real drug, I came to believe, was love.” 21 likes
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