Labor Day: Book summary and reviews of Labor Day by Joyce Maynard

Labor Day

By Joyce Maynard

Labor Day
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  • Published in USA  Jul 2009,
    256 pages.

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Book Summary

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.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

BookBrowse - B.J. Hegedus
"Achingly funny, tragic and suspenseful, this hauntingly poignant coming-of-age story is not to be missed."

Other Reviews
"Maynard's prose is beautiful and her characters winningly complicated, with no neat tie-ups in the end. A sometimes painful tale, but captivating and surprisingly moving." - Publishers Weekly

"It is a testament to Maynard's skill that she makes this ominous setup into a convincing and poignant coming-of-age tale. As she has revealed in her memoirs and five previous novels, Maynard has had her own share of unsuitable attachments (including an intense pen pal relationship with a convicted murderer)." - The Washington Post

"Maynard is in top form in this tale of love, betrayal, and forgiveness." - Associated Press

"Maynard has created an ensemble of characters that will sneak into your heart, and warm it while it breaks." -St. Petersburg Times

"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 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'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

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Author Information

Joyce Maynard Author Biography

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. Her writing has also been published in national magazines, including O, The Oprah Magazine; Newsweek; The New York Times Magazine; Forbes; Salon; San Francisco Magazine, USA Weekly; and many more. She has appeared on Good Morning America, The Today Show, CNN, Hardball with Chris Matthews, Charlie Rose, and on Fresh Air. Essays of hers appear in numerous collections. She ...

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