Monday, April 7, 2014

Labor Day - Joyce Maynard

Title: Labor Day
Author: Joyce Maynard
Pages: 244
Published: 2013 (first published 2009)
Challenges: I Love Libraries
Genre: Fiction, Romance, Contemporary
Edition: Movie Tie-In Paperback
Source: Library

Description: 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. (via Goodreads)
Thoughts: First heard about the book in the lead-up to the movie being released this past winter and hence why I requested the book.  I haven't seen the movie, so I can't attest to how accurate the adaptation is as this isn't a review of the movie.  While the book was at least for me a decent read, it wasn't a read that was memorable for me.  I realize that this is clearly meant for readers that enjoy this sort of a read, not for those that like something that allows one to think more deeply.

The book is well written, but didn't satisfy me as a reader, in that while Ms. Maynard gives very vivid descriptions of one weekend (a memorable one at that) of a 13 year-old boy, the story falls flat, especially in the last third, where it seems as though she wanted to tie the story up into a nice package that clearly was aimed to those that like endings that aren't for the most part, ambiguous.  Personally I would have liked the story to end on an ambiguous note and let the reader to decide as to what the ending of the book was to be, rather than have the ending decided for me, unless of course I happen to love the book.

Bottom line:  It's the perfect book to read either at the pool or at the beach or even a long plane ride; it's that sort of book.  I also would recommend the book to somebody who enjoys reading this sort of fiction.

Rating: 3/5

Pages for 2014: 3890
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