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Review: Labor Day

October 15, 2009

Labor Day

After his parents get divorced, Henry lives with his mother, Adele.  Adele has become a little odd and rarely leaves the house.  It’s Labor Day weekend, though, and thirteen year old Henry needs some things for school, so he and his mother head out to the local Pricemart.  While they’re there, an injured man in a Pricemart shirt approaches Henry, needing some help.  Adele and Henry end up taking Frank, the injured man, home with them.  It turns out that Frank’s an escaped convict, who was serving time for murdering his wife and child.

Things aren’t always what they seem, though, and the three of them end up spending a wonderful Labor Day weekend together.  One quote from Henry really struck me:

And the thought occurs to me that here is one of the best parts about his showing up.  I am not responsible for making her happy anymore.  That job can be his now.  This leaves me free for other things.  My own life, for instance.

I loved Labor Day by Joyce Maynard!  The story is told from Henry’s point of view and I thought both he and Frank were fantastic characters.  Adele’s a great character too –  my heart just broke for her when I discovered why she’s become so withdrawn.  This book doesn’t just have great character development, though – the storyline kept me absorbed from the very start.    I was totally engrossed in the book because I needed to know what was going to happen next.  Labor Day also gave me a lot to think about – I wondered how many children suffer because they feel responsible for their parents’ happiness.  This book is about the power of love and family.  Most of the action take places over the holiday weekend, but there is an epilogue of sorts that lets the reader know how the lives of the characters turn out.  This is a book you don’t want to miss.

Here’s a video of Joyce Maynard talking about Labor Day:

I received this book from the Amazon Vine Program.  I am an Amazon Associate.
41 Comments leave one →
  1. October 15, 2009 6:39 am

    I never really felt too interested in the book because of the title. It felt too American and as I don’t exactly celebrate Labor day I thought this book would be lost on me.

    But…I see thats not the case. I’ll have to keep an eye out for this.

  2. October 15, 2009 7:09 am

    Kathy, nice review. I really liked this book – and still think about it.

  3. October 15, 2009 7:12 am

    “I wondered how many children suffer because they feel responsible for their parents’ happiness. ”

    It probably happens quite often, sadly. I’m glad you loved this so much!

  4. October 15, 2009 7:20 am

    This was a quick read but very powerful. I love your review!

  5. October 15, 2009 7:20 am

    Looked at this one in the bookstore the other day – sounds interesting. I’ve never read anything by Joyce Maynard, although I’ve always been intrigued by her personal story. Nice review.

  6. October 15, 2009 7:48 am

    Thank you for the review about “Labor Day.” I have seen the title. This is the first chance I’ve had to really read what the book was about.

  7. October 15, 2009 8:19 am

    I would bet a large percentage of children with divorced parents feel that way. If left to my own senses, I usually avoid the heartbreaking, emotional reads, but will trust you on this one! There is usually much more to it than I give it credit!

  8. October 15, 2009 8:39 am

    So happy you loved this book as much as me. I thought it was terrific.

  9. October 15, 2009 9:09 am

    I have neen thinking about picking this one up for quite some time. It sounds like something I would like.

  10. October 15, 2009 9:21 am

    It’s so important for me to believe the characters.

  11. October 15, 2009 9:21 am

    Oh how I have been wanting to read this one. Thanks for the review Kathy.

  12. October 15, 2009 9:28 am

    I’m curious about why Adele became so withdrawn. This book is not on my list, but I’ve been reading/hearing such positive reviews that I might add it soon.

  13. October 15, 2009 9:30 am

    Sounds like a good book. I don’t currently have a copy of this one, but I’ll have to check out the library’s catalog!

  14. October 15, 2009 9:32 am

    The quote alone from Henry caught at me so I can imagine the rest of the story would keep me riveted. It sounds like a good mystery. I want to know more about all three characters.

  15. October 15, 2009 9:47 am

    The premise sounds very interesting. I may have to seek this one out too..

  16. October 15, 2009 10:52 am

    Great review! I loved Labor Day and I just know your review will entice a lot of new readers to pick it up.

  17. October 15, 2009 11:36 am

    I like Maynard and I know I’ll like this book. Your review just made me even more interested — the convict, the boy who feels responsible for his parent . . . sounds like an engrossing mix even without good character development.

  18. October 15, 2009 11:40 am

    I’ve heard so many good things about this book now!

  19. October 15, 2009 11:55 am

    Very interesting premise! I actually already have this book, but never really looked into what it was about. Probably because I have way too many books to possibly keep up with or ever get through!

  20. October 15, 2009 12:43 pm

    I’ve read Maynard’s memoir about her relationship with Salinger (which I very much enjoyed), but haven’t read any of her fiction. This sounds like a very promising read. (Funny aside — before reading your review based on the title I thought it referred to a pregnancy).

  21. October 15, 2009 1:25 pm

    I think I’d like this – so many of the books I read are from a woman’s perspective; this would be a nice change of pace.

  22. October 15, 2009 1:40 pm

    This one sounds really good. Glad to see you liked it.

  23. October 15, 2009 1:41 pm

    I see this one everywhere. I wrote it down and then added it to my Goodreads list yet it somehow gets buried and I forget about it. I wish there was a bit more time in the day so that I could get all these books read!

  24. October 15, 2009 2:29 pm

    Nice review Kathy. This one is on my wishlist.

  25. October 15, 2009 3:04 pm

    I loved this book—in fact, I enjoy all of Maynard’s work. I even have her first one and have reviewed it on one of my blogs.

    Her most fascinating works are the memoirs, such as “At Home in the World” and “Looking Back,” the book she wrote at eighteen and which grew from an article she wrote for a magazine. (The New York Times).

  26. October 15, 2009 3:21 pm

    Your review was awesome!! I loved this book for exactly the reasons you wrote about!

  27. October 15, 2009 3:35 pm

    What a great review. I’ve seen this book around but the title just never grabbed me. Now that I’ve read your review, it sounds like a wonderful read!

  28. October 15, 2009 4:12 pm

    I have read several good reviews of this book and think it sounds like a really involving and interesting story. Glad to know you liked it so much and great review! This is definitely one I will be picking up. Thanks!

  29. October 15, 2009 4:40 pm

    thanks for the review- I’ve been eyeing Labor Day for a while now & appreciate your point of view! Glad you liked it so much!

  30. October 15, 2009 6:13 pm

    This one sounds great! A very interesting premise indeed, and I love the passage you shared.

  31. October 15, 2009 9:40 pm

    Glad you love the book! It does sound like a wonderful read. 🙂

  32. October 16, 2009 1:14 am

    Great review, Kathy, I am so glad you enjoyed it! I want to read it too.

  33. October 16, 2009 2:31 am


  34. Veens permalink
    October 16, 2009 4:04 am

    “I wondered how many children suffer because they feel responsible for their parents’ happiness. ” – thought provoking question. Something that is sadly true!

    I will keep and eye for this one! i have read good reviews of this one around, glad you liked it!

  35. stacybuckeye permalink
    October 16, 2009 10:54 am

    I’ve read such good things about this one. It’s on my list.

  36. October 16, 2009 3:19 pm

    I tried to get this one through LibraryThing’s Early Reviewers, but it didn’t happen. I’ll probably read it at some point anyway; glad you liked it, and thanks for the informative review!

  37. October 16, 2009 6:00 pm

    Wow, great review. This one sounds terrific.

  38. October 16, 2009 10:20 pm

    I don’t think I’ve ever read anything by this author but this sounds like a good place to start.

  39. October 17, 2009 12:29 am

    We’ve been toying with reading this one for my face to face book club but a review I read a while back scared me off. Now I’m going to have to rethink that decision.

  40. October 17, 2009 2:00 pm

    Interesting! I’m sure lots of children do suffer when their parents aren’t happy because so many take it personally but also feeling responsible for their happiness must be a pretty big burden

  41. October 18, 2009 3:48 pm

    This sounds terrific. Thanks for the lovely review.

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