Recently, I went to the library and picked up a stack of books, and this was the first one I grabbed. Labor Day by Joyce Maynard has been in the back of my mind for quite some time now. Mostly because of the fact that the movie had been in my queue on Netflix for a long time, but I hadn’t gotten around to watching it. I wanted to read the book first.
This book was simple, yet complicated. It was sweet, yet very sad in a way. A boy grows up with his mother, his father left them a long time ago and found a new family. They basically only have each other and one day while Henry and his mom are at a local store buying clothes for school, a man comes up to him. He’s bleeding bad, and needs Henry’s help. Usually Henry doesn’t ask him mom for things, she’s often depressed and in her own little world, but he asks his mom to help the man.
They end up taking the man home, and finding out that he is an escaped felon. He was in prison for murder, and he had to get his appendix out, which was a great opportunity to run. He jumped from the window, and that’s why he was bleeding so bad.
In a way, this man was holding Henry and his mom hostage, but complicated as it is, Henry’s mom starts to fall for this man on this Labor Day weekend. This man becomes a father figure to Henry, teaching him to play baseball and teaching Henry and his mother how to cook delicious food. Soon, Henry hears his mom and this man having “fun” in her bedroom, and has mixed feelings about it.
Eventually the man gets caught, and Henry and his mother must figure out how to put their lives back together after the occurrences of that weekend. This story was strange, and sweet, but also kind of slow. I ended up watching the movie after I read this book (which happened to not be on Netflix anymore but was on Hulu if you are wondering), but I found it to be slower than the book but just as entrancing. I really liked this book, I just found it’s pace to be lacking at times. I give this book 4 out of 5 stars.