Narrator Wilson Bethel's voice evokes the tension of a young man standing on the precipice of becoming a man. Bethel uses an adolescent voice to describe Henry's longings for love and his adolescent wonderings about life. Bethel shines in portraying Henry's relationship with his mother, giving their interplay the realistic back-and-forth style that many mothers and sons share. As Adele's sad secret is finally revealed, Bethel's delivery turns melancholy. Listeners will appreciate how Bethel's narration infuses the dramatic story of a life-altering time in Henry's life with strength and empathy.
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
"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)
I'm addicted to Audible. A new grandma I am responsible for my grandsons library, which reignited my interest in books.
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!
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.
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.
Its a fascinating tale that would begin on may 5th, 1989 in Mease Dunedin hospital and from there the legacy grew. I am adult now.
It's probably up there. A bit drawn out sometimes.
It was entertaining. Talk of could have been toned down a little.
No he's a unique storyteller.
Not really it took time to get used to it.
I would not recommend this book. The narration was nice, but the story was shallow and predictable.
Researcher/oral historian and fitness enthusiast from Austin, TX, currently residing in San Diego. I love to read, but traditional books require a person to be sedentary while reading. Audio books make it possible for me to increase both my physical activity and reading quantity.
Labor Day is a heart-breaking coming-of-age story about love, loss, grief, injustice, betrayal, longing, loneliness, goodness, strength, resiliency, redemption, and fulfillment. Some characters seem, at first, to be less than admirable; they appear weak, mentally unstable, and lacking in good judgement and good character. But as the story unravelled, my opinion changed dramatically: I felt only heart-wrenching sympathy/empathy and admiration for these characters whom I came to view as uncommonly good, strong people. At times, their stories made me incredibly angry and sad (get ready to cry if you are sensitive), but I also found bittersweet happiness and hope in the story. Maynard's narrative is at times poetic and perfect but it is a bit flawed at other times. For example, she writes that a character kept no fresh food or real food of any kind in the house; there were only frozen dinners and cans of soup. Yet, a house-guest was able to make chili, biscuits, pie, and pancakes from scratch without ever leaving the house to go to a grocery store. Other than small narrative inconsistencies like the one just described, Labor Day is a real gem of a story; I'm so thankful that I found it and added it to my library. It was well worth the credit I spent.
Say something about yourself!
This is a great question because this book sparked absolutely nothing in me. I listened to it all, but couldn't really tell you why I stuck with it.
I am the one who fell for buying a book entitled Labor Day to listen to on a long Labor Day Weekend drive.
The book is depressing, slow, and not at all realistic in its depiction of 13 year-old boys. I finally turned it off to avoid getting so down that I'd drive myself into a tree! I didn't finish it, but will probably never forget how it cast a cloud over Labor Day 2009.
Report Inappropriate Content
If you find this review inappropriate and think it should be removed from our site, let us know. This report will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.