Connie A Thompson

Tag Archives: Labor Day

Review of Joyce Maynard’s Labor Day

labor-day

I love reading books that have inspired movies. Major discrepancies from print to film irritate me and I usually prefer to have some time lapse between the time I’ve read the book and seen the movie. The movie comes out January 31st so I obviously won’t have that option.

Joyce Maynard’s Labor Day is told through the viewpoint of thirteen-year-old Henry. His parents have divorced. His father has a new wife, new daughter, new step-son, new life. Each week Henry joins his father’s family for their traditional family dinner at Friendly’s. Henry’s mother rarely leaves the house. Their freezer is full of frozen dinners, their cupboards are full of cans of soup.

With school beginning, Henry and his mother go to a local store for back-to-school clothes and supplies. A man approaches Henry and asks for a ride. Henry’s mother agrees. The man’s planned destination is their home.
Frank is an escaped convict. He says he was wrongly convicted and asks the mother and son not to believe everything they will hear. The news reports are a sharp contrast to the kind man Henry sees living in his home.Henry also begins to see his mother in a new way. Is his mother falling in love with the convict?

I often found myself cringing as I read. This is a thirteen-year-old boy. Puberty. He is just beginning to experience the sexual desires that come with puberty. His mother although she has often shared too many personal details is experiencing a sexual awakening. Henry can hear everything through the thin wall separating his room from his mother’s.

The reader also feels as if a voyeur. Sometimes I found the lack of quotation marks infuriating. There are also several passages that I found to be beautiful and descriptive of the human element.

Henry on his mother preference and need to stay home:
It was like she was missing the outer layer of skin that allows people to get through the day without bleeding all the time. The world got to be too much for her.

As I read the last sentence of the novel, I could see why Hollywood would choose to make this into a movie. I plan to see the movie in the near future, and I’ll check back here and let you know what I thought about the screen adaptation. Joyce Maynard posted on her website that she loves the movie. I’m looking forward to seeing it.

Which movies that have been adapted from novels have you loved? Which have you hated?

I loved Water for Elephants. With My Sister’s Keeper, I really liked most of the movie, but to totally change the ending? I was really disappointed with that.