“No, doubt Richard’s father, like my mother, had once held his infant son in his arms, looked into the eyes of his child’s mother, and believed they would move into the future together with love. The fact that they didn’t was a weight each of us carried, as every child does, probably, whose parents no longer live under the same roof. Wherever it is you make your home, there is always this other place, this other person, calling to you. Come to me. Come back.“
There are some books that I call “comfort” books, they are the books to cuddle up with on a rainy or snowy day and lose yourself in for hours at a time. They just pull you into the story and seem to make the rest of the world fade away. Labor Day is one of those books. Elegantly written with a “less is more” style, it flows gently along creating a tale bringing into question the true meaning of right and wrong. The tale of Henry, Adele and Frank highlights the gray areas that we often don’t see where right and wrong blur until they are indistinguishable.
The book shows the simplicity of human need and true joy all from the point of view of one teenage boy. It also brings to light that feeling children of broken homes have, the one that is hard to put into words and is so often looked over.Their need and hunger to belong and yet their defense of being one to themselves at times. It’s a work built on emotion and made of experiences just asking to be read and felt. It’s a book not to be missed that shows sometimes what is simple can also be magical in it’s honesty and depth.
Description from Publisher:
“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, Joyce Maynard tells a story of love, sexual passion, painful adolescence, and devastating betrayal as seen through the eyes of a thirteen-year-old boy — and the man he later becomes — looking back on the events of a single long, hot, and life-altering weekend.”
Joyce Maynard’s next book The Good Daughters releases August 24, 2011.