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Publisher's Summary

With the end of summer closing in and a steamy Labor Day weekend looming in the town of Holton Mills, New Hampshire, 13-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.

©2009 Joyce Maynard (P)1997 HarperCollins Publishers

Critic Reviews

"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)

What listeners say about Labor Day

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

A little creepy

It's not that this was a bad story, I just didn't like the way it was told. It found it creepy hearing the love scenes between Adele and Frank through the eyes (and ears) of their tween son, and the images of the mother telling the things that she did (which were completely inappropriate) to her son made me uncomfortable. Perhaps that was the intent of the writer. If so, well done. But I wouldn't recommend this book to someone, and I am not anxious to see the movie, like I usually am after a good book.

5 people found this helpful

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Good story but anti clamatic

Would you try another book from Joyce Maynard and/or Wilson Bethel?

I've read a couple of Joyce's books. They're like a peanut butter sandwich. Tastes good when you're in between new things to try. A staple. Good writing but missing something to make it great!

8 people found this helpful

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It was....meh.

What did you like best about Labor Day? What did you like least?

The performance was fairly well done -- crisp audio with decent acting. It was a short audiobook, but I didn't find the story all that engaging. It seemed to go very quick with just a couple of historical subplots that wrapped up very quickly and all too neatly. I would've liked to hear much more depth in both the characters and plot.

3 people found this helpful

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Seemed like a hell of a holiday.

Where does Labor Day rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

It's probably up there. A bit drawn out sometimes.

What did you like best about this story?

It was entertaining. Talk of could have been toned down a little.

Have you listened to any of Wilson Bethel’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

No he's a unique storyteller.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Not really it took time to get used to it.

4 people found this helpful

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Similar to movie

enjoyed it . . . very similar to the storyline of the movie . . .

1 person found this helpful

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don't bother

Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

I would not recommend this book. The narration was nice, but the story was shallow and predictable.

3 people found this helpful

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Excellent writing of Great Story

At first, I wasn't sure this book would hold my attention, but it was not long before the escaped convict hooked me with his story and I could see why she fell in love with him. Written from a young boy's POV created more tension - would he or would he not turn Frank in to the police. A good read. I recommend it.

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Loved the movie and now the book too

I loved this book it filled in a lot of questions I had after watching the movie. The narration was good too.

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Spun Gold

Powerful story of a family undone by tragedy, and restored by the grace of a man who was imprisoned by the law, and redeemed by love. Told through the eyes of a perceptive and unhappy teenage boy, it’s the story of the healing power of love springing up in the least likely place - a house over one very long hot weekend. Beautifully narrated by the young boy, it captures the foolishness and beauty of a family finding peace in the ashes of sadness.
Plus a riveting treatment of the power of food (especially pie) to help healing happen.

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Beautiful and poetic

There is so much about what matters in life in this book. So much about perceiving the little things that matter, that stick with us, that define us. It is a beautiful story, poetic, romantic and electrifying. The performance was also very well done. Thank you!

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  • Mary
  • 08-09-18

Loved this book. Such a great writer!

Great coming of age story under exceptional circumstances. Nice performance too. You could really 'see' all the characters.

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  • miss lj lawley
  • 05-29-16

Love, love, loved it

I saw the film first and loved it so wanted to read the book. The narrators voice was just amazing capturing all the characters and the story was like the film addictive. Will read another book by the author thank you for writing such an enjoyable story.