Sunday, February 9, 2014

Book Review: Labor Day by Joyce Maynard

As you can see from the cover, this is now a movie.

I actually came to know about this book from the 16 Books to Read Before They Hit Theaters This Year list. What a great little book!

Henry has a difficult life. His father has remarried and lives with his wife and his newly formed family which includes a new baby girl as well as a half brother. Henry still lives with his mother who has some issues with mental illness based on her behaviors, rarely leaving the house which isolates Henry from the larger world.

It's a couple of days before Labor Day and Henry manages to get his mother to go on a rare excursion to the local store as he needs new pants for the upcoming first day of school. Everything changes when a man, who is clearly bleeding, comes up to Henry in the magazine aisle asking for help in the form of a ride. When Henry introduces Frank to his mother Adele, who gives him a ride to their home.

So begins the five days that contain so many life lessons for Henry that will change who he is. This includes learning to make a perfect pie crust, throwing a baseball, and seeing true love up close. While it's a short time, this makes an impact on Henry that will change his life forever, as he begins to identify with a father figure and sees that a lot of what his mother needs is a love he cannot provide.

This is a wonderful book about love and redemption. Frank has a past and is an escaped convict but it becomes clear that while he is mysterious and labeled as "dangerous" he is more than just the headlines of the local paper.

The book is easy to read and I have to say the ending was more than I expected. Recommend.

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