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Labor Day | [Joyce Maynard]

Labor Day

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.
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Audible Editor Reviews

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.

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

What the Critics Say

"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 Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.9 (201 )
5 star
 (52)
4 star
 (91)
3 star
 (39)
2 star
 (15)
1 star
 (4)
Overall
3.9 (151 )
5 star
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4 star
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3 star
 (31)
2 star
 (12)
1 star
 (2)
Story
4.1 (151 )
5 star
 (50)
4 star
 (73)
3 star
 (21)
2 star
 (6)
1 star
 (1)
Performance
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  •  
    Justin NEW PORT RICHEY, FLORIDA, United States 01-25-14
    Justin NEW PORT RICHEY, FLORIDA, United States 01-25-14 Member Since 2013

    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.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    17
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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.


    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    C. Oneal California 11-25-13
    C. Oneal California 11-25-13 Member Since 2012

    I'm addicted to Audible. A new grandma I am responsible for my grandsons library, which reignited my interest in books.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    23
    ratings
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    96
    65
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    1
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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!


    5 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mari Fort Walton Beach, FL, United States 01-15-14
    Mari Fort Walton Beach, FL, United States 01-15-14 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
    3
    ratings
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    28
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    0
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    Story
    "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 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lena Bookin North Carolina 07-09-14
    Lena Bookin North Carolina 07-09-14 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
    7
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    25
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    "Well Done"

    I like to read the books before I watch the movies and this book and narrator did not disappoint.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    rachel smith 05-20-14 Member Since 2013
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    16
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Amazing"
    What did you like best about this story?

    This book was so easy to listen to. I couldn't stop. I really loved the story, the characters, and everything. It was just so so so good. Highly recommend.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kate 05-16-14
    Kate 05-16-14 Member Since 2014
    ratings
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    7
    4
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    Performance
    Story
    "Great read"
    What made the experience of listening to Labor Day the most enjoyable?

    Gripping story very well read. I couldn't put it down. I loved the extraordinary characters. It is on my 'must read' list.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amie J. Woeber Washington, DC 04-19-14
    Amie J. Woeber Washington, DC 04-19-14 Member Since 2011
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    4
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    melissa kay wilkins 04-11-14 Member Since 2013
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    3
    3
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Great story and writing!"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Yes, great story and writing skills make for an excellent book.


    What did you like best about this story?

    it was from the son's point of view of how he saw things....


    What about Wilson Bethel’s performance did you like?

    his ability to change tones for each emotion.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    Cry


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Desiree United States 03-12-14
    Desiree United States 03-12-14 Member Since 2009

    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.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    11
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    "Heart-Breaking, Bittersweet, and Very, Very Good"

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Andrew San Diego, CA, United States 02-11-14
    Andrew San Diego, CA, United States 02-11-14 Member Since 2005
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
    ratings
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    7
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    "Simply wonderful"
    Any additional comments?

    A very compelling story with well thought out and extremely likable characters. The narration is well done. I was very surprised by this novel.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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