If you are a looking for a book that will tug at your heart strings, this one is it. Labor Day is the story of thirteen year old Henry, a misfit of a boy who is just starting the struggle of transitioning from child to young adult, and his misfit mother, Adele. Adele isn't like most other mothers. Divorced, and virtually jobless, Adele is also friendless and phobic about leaving the house, but desperately lonely all the same. On a rare outing to a local store, Henry is approached by a strange man with a desperate request; will Henry ask his mother to take him home with them? Surprisingly, Adele's answer is yes. Frank, who is badly injured, comes home with the duo. Frank is gentle and attentive to both mother and son, giving Henry something he has never felt before, the undivided attention of a father figure, and giving Adele something she hasn't felt in a long time, the attention of an appreciative man. But things aren't as simple as all that. Frank is an escapee from a prison and the authorities have all the roads in and out of the town locked down. Despite the balm Frank offers for Adele and Henry's pains, the hot heat of Labor Day weekend will eventually give way to the reality of the rest of the year.
But Henry has never had to share his mother, and when new girl arrives in town, she gets Henry questioning his mother and her budding relationship with Frank. The novel is the story of how Adele, Frank, and Henry try to shake off the pain of their past and find a way forward. The past won't let go easily and the choices made today can become the pain that haunts the future. Both Adele and Frank's stories are heartbreaking, and the pain these two have felt is vividly drawn out for the reader along with the confusion Henry feels. Maynard also brings to life the priceless gift of simple moments, like making the prefect peach pie, dancing in the living room and baseball lessons in the backyard. This is a great book for anyone who loves to read about characters' inner struggles with strong emotional issues. Readers of Jodi Piccult will enjoy this latest novel by Joyce Maynard.
Recommended by Megan Willan