Labor Day

Labor Day - Joyce Maynard

From Goodreads: 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.

 

I picked this up as a Kindle Daily Deal, no doubt because of the recent movie tie in.

 

What I liked: There was something familiar with this story. I know I had never read it before, and I hadn't seen the movie..but something about it kind of struck me as being familiar. Almost comforting. 

 

What I didn't like: While I liked this book, and felt comforted by the writing it wasn't a book that ultimately grabbed my attention. I read this on vacation, and by the time I got to the end I just felt a sense of relief that I could move on to something else. When I wasn't reading this book, I wasn't thinking of it, even in the periphery of my mind and a few times I actually had to turn on my Kindle just to see what I was reading because I kept forgetting.

 

I can't recall whether I've read another book by Joyce Maynard before this one. I kind of feel as though I had, though I'd probably have to go through a list of her books. I liked the writing style enough that I would probably read another of her books, but probably would not seek any out.