When I recommended this to a friend, I got this text message: "I just finished reading Labor Day. Wow."
This book not only blows your hair back, it's one of those where you immediately want to tell anyone who will listen to put the trash they're reading aside and pick up something worthwhile. Bonus if you've never read Maynard before (I hadn't) because you're discovering a voice you'll want to hear again and again. --Aaron - Buying Office
Indie Next List
August 2009In Labor Day, Joyce Maynard has created three well-written and engaging characters, has put them in an extraordinary situation, and has delivered a wonderful book. I admit to being teary during the last few pages. -- Lisa Sharp, Nightbird Books, Fayetteville, AR
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 onetime dancer whose summer project was to teach him how to foxtrot; his hamster, Joe; and awkward Saturday-night outings to Friendly's with his estranged father and new stepfamily. As much as he tries, Henry knows that even with his jokes and his "Husband for a Day" coupon, he still can't make his emotionally fragile mother happy. Adele has a secret that makes it hard for her to leave their house, and seems to possess an irreparably broken heart.
But all that changes on the Thursday before Labor Day, when a mysterious bleeding man named Frank approaches Henry and asks for a hand. Over the next five days, Henry will learn some of life's most valuable lessons: how to throw a baseball, the secret to perfect piecrust, the breathless pain of jealousy, the power of betrayal, and the importance of putting others—especially those we love—above ourselves. And the knowledge that real love is worth waiting for.
In a manner evoking Ian McEwan's Atonement and Nick Hornby's About a Boy, acclaimed author Joyce Maynard weaves a beautiful, poignant tale of love, sex, adolescence, and devastating treachery as seen through the eyes of a young teenage boy—and the man he later becomes—looking back at an unexpected encounter that begins one single long, hot, life-altering weekend.
About the Author
Joyce Maynard has been a reporter for the New York Times, a magazine journalist, a radio commentator, and a syndicated columnist, as well as the author of six novels, including To Die For and Labor Day, and four books of nonfiction. Her bestselling memoir, At Home in the World, has been translated into eleven languages. Her previous novel, Labor Day, is being adapted for film by Academy Award-nominated director Jason Reitman. The mother of five children, she makes her home in Mill Valley, California.
Praise for Labor Day LP…
“Joyce Maynard is in top-notch form with Labor Day. From the perfect pitch of a teenaged boy narrator to the eloquent message of how loneliness can bind people together, this is simply a novel you cannot miss.” -Jodi Picoult, New York Times bestselling author of My Sister's Keeper and Handle With Care
“[The] story is moving and fast-moving, affirming Maynard’s reputation as a master storyteller and showing her to be a passionate humanist with a gifted ear and heart. . . . Maynard illuminates the human experience.” -People (Four Stars)
“Maynard expertly tugs heartstrings in a tidy tale. ” -Kirkus Reviews
“Maynard’s inventive coming-of-age tale indelibly captures the anxiety and confusion inherent in adolescence, while the addition of a menacing element of suspense makes this emotionally fraught journey that much more harrowing.” -Booklist
“Maynard is in top form in this tale of love, betrayal, and forgiveness.” -Associated Press
“Maynard deftly pulls the reader into the fragile lives of these three vulnerable characters and their preordained march toward the novel’s denouement. A marvelous read––perfect for one long sitting––this novel leaves the reader wishing it didn’t ever have to end.” -BookPage
“Maynard...is in top form in this tale of love, betrayal and forgiveness.” -Record Searchlight (Redding, CA)
“beautifully written” -New Orleans Times-Picayune
“Maynard offers fresh insight into what constitutes family.” -USA Today
“It is a testament to Maynard’s skill that she makes this ominous setup into a convincing and poignant coming-of-age tale.” -Washington Post
“Maynard details Henry’s roller-coaster emotions for Frank – he is both jealous and grateful – and his mother’s emotional journeys – with skill and tenderness for the uncertain willingness of broken hearts to mend. The poignant results are revealing of our ability to forgive and to grow.” -Smart Money
“Labor Day is suffused with tenderness, dreaminess and love....first and foremost a page-turner...[it] puts back together the world that it destroys....you definitely need to get a box of tissues.” -Newsday
“a haunting and hopeful story” -Hartford Courant
“[A] sweet, swift read that will leave you feeling good.” -Minneapolis Star Tribune
“surprisingly moving” -Arizona Republic
“The novel is an extended meditation on the nature of love, grief and loneliness.... Maynard has created an ensemble of characters that will sneak into your heart, and warm it while it breaks. ” -St. Petersburg Times
“Maynard gets inside the head of an adolescent boy who is grappling with his own identity and the mysteries of sex (while revealing the secrets of making perfect pie crust). ” -Salt Lake City Tribune
“Maynard spins a fascinating story of damaged people seeking the one thing they long for – love. ” -Wichita Falls, TX, Times Record News
“Labor Day is a startling novel of love, friendship, trust, treachery, betrayal, and the deep lessons that we learn in life.... It’s a powerful, poignant mix in the hands of author Joyce Maynard and a novel no one should miss.” -www.Gather.com
“Labor Day is both a coming-of-age story and a love story- a tale of profound loss, redemption and soul searching that is not to be missed.” -www.MyDailyFind.com
“Maynard has created an ensemble of characters that will sneak into your heart, and warm it while it breaks.” -St. Petersburg Times
“But apart from being a successful thriller, this book is a fascinating portrait of what causes a family to founder, and how much it can cost to put it back on the right path. ” -NPR.org
“At once beautiful and disturbing, this remarkable novel…is a moving read.” -BookPage.com on LABOR DAY
“an uplifting story told by a boy who is just beginning to understand what life is all about.” -St. Petersburg Times