Labor Day by Joyce Maynard
As Labor Day approaches in Holton Mills, New Hampshire, 13-year-old Henry and his mother Adele head into town to pick up some groceries and supplies for their home. This is a rare trip to town as single emotionally damaged mom Adele does not like being around people and mainly sticks to home where she lives her quiet small life. Henry, a product of his environment is much a loner himself with no real close friends and no one he really hangs out with except his dads new wife’s kids. Henry spends much of his time playing with his hamster, trying to make his mom feel better, and thinking of girls.
At the grocery store a limping man, named Frank, approaches Henry asking for help. Henry sees that Frank is bleeding and takes him to his mother who in turn takes Frank home with her and Henry. This is when Frank shares his story that he has escaped and is a wanted man (not in a sexy way…. but in a “my face is going to be on tv” way).
Over the next five days surrounding the Labor Day Holiday Henry will learn a lot about his mom, he will learn to bake with Frank’s expertise, and how to correctly throw a ball. And Henry will come out of the weekend a changed boy – with more knowledge about love, betrayal, and letting go… even when it is the last thing we want to do.
I am having a hard time spilling out my feelings regarding Labor Day. On one hand, I want to say that Adele’s inability to use her backbone brings the”strong female characters preferred” gene in me screaming through the book like fingernails on a chalk board.
But that is harsh.
And probably not fair.
Isn’t it funny how my own preferences of how women need to be strong and able to take care of themselves rears up out of nowhere?
I have a hard time wrapping my head around a single woman with a young son to look after, taking home a strange man that she knows nothing about and then under the strangest conditions keeping him there.
On the other hand, I do not know the depths of Adele’s depression, or the amount of frailness she withholds from past hurts. It is not fair of me to judge what I do not understand.
Labor Day is told from Henry’s point of view so we (I) must be reminded that what is happening is how he see’s things with his 13-year-old mind. (Although… I can not see how else he could have seen it) Doh! I did it again.
I think I am in the minority as I glanced at overall reviews of this book on Amazon they rate fairly high. I struggled personally with the probability of such a thing happening – but… we do live in a strange world.
Here are some different thoughts on this book from Bloggers I trust:
I clearly did not love the book, but I did not hate it either. It is a book that still has me thinking about it. The fact that it creates such strong emotion in me must say something 🙂
My book club received copies of this book to read as a group in anticipation of the movie. Tonight we are going to the movie as a group and I am hopeful that my opinion of the storyline will change after the movie. No matter what, I still get to hang out with a great group of girls 😀