Review & Book Tour: Labor Day

Labor Day Book Cover

Labor Day
By Joyce Maynard
Harper Perennial
August 2010
272 pp

The Short of It:

This is a story about love, loss and the struggle to find yourself. It’s proof that in this great big world, it is possible to find happiness and a place to call home.

The Rest of It:

Henry is thirteen-years-old and a bit of a recluse. As the other boys in the neighborhood spend their time outside, Henry spends his time indoors, watching TV and taking care of his divorced mother, Adele. Their meals consist of canned soup and quiet conversation. This is a typical day for them. However, during one, long, hot Labor Day weekend, they head to the local Pricemart to pick up a few items. This, in itself, is rare as Adele does not enjoy being outside anymore. She’d rather stay in the comfort of her home but on this particular morning, she decides to enter the store with Henry.

While she is shopping, Henry is confronted by a man named Frank. The man, obviously injured, is in pain and simply asks if Henry and his mom can help him. Although Adele has her issues, she has been known to help those in need in the past, so Henry takes Frank to his mom, and their lives change forever.

Frank has a story of course. A sketchy past involving a mistake he made when he was younger, but through Frank’s actions, Adele sees a man who is solid and true. A man who cares deeply for those close to him, and when he manages to bring happiness into their home, happiness that hasn’t existed for years, Henry becomes fond of him too.

Labor Day is a wonderful read. The characters are forced to look within themselves and the interactions between them are so beautifully orchestrated. I say orchestrated because their interactions are seamless and subtle but speak volumes as far as what’s going on within these people. It takes an author’s delicate hand to push that envelope. Pushing it too much creates a “staged” feel and not pushing it enough creates hollow characters without substance.

Labor Day is my favorite type of book. It’s the kind of book that you read, experience and then once done, think about  for days on end. I highly recommend it.

Joyce Maynard

To visit Joyce Maynard’s website, click here.

To view Maynard’s other TLC tour stops, click here.

Joyce Maynard will be on Blog Talk Radio with Book Club Girl on August 30th at 4pm (Pacific). For details, click here.

Source: A big ‘thank you’ to TLC Book Tours for asking me to be a part of this tour and to the publisher for providing me with a review copy of the book.

22 thoughts on “Review & Book Tour: Labor Day”

  1. Ti….I have never been disappointed by a Joyce Maynard book; liked this one a lot (my favorite kind of story as well). I just finished The Good Daughters, by her which releases next month. I LOVED IT, and am struggling to write a review to express how good it is.

    1. Maynard mentioned The Good Daughters on Facebook the other day and my radar went ding ding ding. I love the way she writes. Seems effortless to me. I can’t wait to read her other books.

  2. I have a copy of this, and I’ve picked it up many times to start it and then decided on something else. I really need to just take the plunge! Thanks for the review.

    1. I felt the same way prior to the tour. I think I thought it was chick lit so I didn’t have much interest in reading it, but I could not have been more wrong about it.

  3. The reviews I’ve seen on it so far have been really good (wasn’t it featured on one of Nicole’s shows?). I love stories that bang around in my head for days or weeks after I’ve finished. Sometime I’m surprised by the ones that do that. I’m going to keep this one on my radar. Nice review!

  4. i’ve heard of this author and LOVE the cover! this sounds like a really good read and though i’m sorry i missed being a part of the tour, i’ll add this on my library list and give it a whirl.

    ps. ‘the stand’ is still staring me down from my nightstand. i have a few other books to get through and then i’m tackling it. 🙂

    1. Well by the time you start The Stand, I will hopefully be wrapping it up. When I first read it in college I read it for pleasure and this time around, I am picking it apart so it’s taking me ten times longer to read it. Still enjoying though. Just seeing it in a slightly different light.

  5. I also loved this book Ti and just hated to see it end. As soon as I finished reading it I decided that I will probably read it again over Labor Day weekend next month.

  6. Did you have issues with Frank and that Henry’s mom accepted him? This creeped me out, I felt so uncomfortable reading the book and had a hard time moving beyond this part of the story.

    Henry’s mom was just a weak person… ugh

    I should give this book more credit than I do, I’m still thinking about it a year later! 🙂

    1. You know, I didn’t have any issues with Frank. The scene where she decides to take him home was a bit of a red flag situation for sure, but because Henry seemed to be okay with it, and he is normally so protective of his mom, I knew as a reader that they were going to be okay. I don’t see Adele as being weak. Instead, I saw a woman who was broken. There were moments where she was quite lovely, the dancing comes to mind…the small talk at dinner. It’s almost as if her mind just gave up living…only the small day-to-day routines kept her going. In fact,I don’t think a weak-willed person would have survived what she did.

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