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Labor Day

by Joyce Maynard

Narrated by thirteen-year-old Henry, this moving story of love and betrayal is set over one broiling Labour Day weekend in Bolton Mills, New Hampshire.

Approached by a distressed and bleeding man in the mall, Henry and his depressed mother make the dubious decision to take him home with them. He turns out to be a convict on the run, but from there on nothing is predictable. As the temperature rises so the tension is ratcheted up until there is no putting the book down, come what may.

If you love Anne Tyler, then you should read this one. Maynard uses a similar canvas of blue collar domestic life and shows the same compassion for her flawed characters. Also, like Tyler, she has the ability to make you believe you are living their lives rather than reading about them.

LABOR DAY is soon to be released as a 'major motion picture' (are they ever minor?) starring the lovely Kate Winslet and directed by Jason Reitman (director of THANKYOU FOR SMOKING, UP IN THE AIR and, one of my favourite films, JUNO) and I so hope they do this cracking novel justice.

Published by Harper Collins, 288pp.

Clare Chandler


Carol Sutherland (Dorchester book club)
I totally agree about the book. It reminded me of Anne Tyler at her best. The film though...very disappointing. Despite great performances, it just didn't really work and the changes to the novel took off its edge. For example, there's a sense of coercion when Adele takes Frank home, whereas in the book her decision is much more subtle and interesting. A pity!

What a shame. There aren't many films that live up to their books but I didn't think there'd be much they could do wrong with this one.

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