Labor Day (novel)

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Labor Day
Cover of novel
AuthorJoyce Maynard
CountryUnited States
PublisherWilliam Morrow and Company
Publication date
Media typePrint (hardback & paperback)

Labor Day is a coming-of-age novel published in 2009 by American author Joyce Maynard.

Plot summary[edit]

Henry Wheeler, a man in his early 30s, recounts his thirteenth year. As Labor Day weekend approaches, 13-year-old Henry sees no reason why this weekend should be any different. He expects it to be as lonely as the rest of the summer, only watching television, playing with his pet hamster and fantasizing about his female classmates.

Henry shares his life in New Hampshire with his depressed, and divorced mother, Adele. Adele's agoraphobia means that the family survives on unedifying tinned foods and frozen meals. However, on the Thursday before the Labor Day weekend, Henry persuades his mother to go on a shopping trip. It is there that they meet an unkempt man who is bleeding from his forehead and agree to his request for a ride in their car.

This mysterious man, Frank, admits that he is a convicted murderer who has escaped prison. Despite his past, Frank makes the claim that the mother and son have "never been in better hands". Indeed, Frank teaches Henry how to throw a baseball, change a flat tire and to bake. Meanwhile, Adele and Frank, long love-starved, become infatuated with each other, and Adele emerges from her depression.[1]


The Washington Post noted that "It is a testament to Maynard's skill that she makes this ominous setup into a convincing and poignant coming-of-age tale."[1] In The New York Times, author Jodi Picoult praised the work; "Joyce Maynard is in top-notch form with Labor Day. Simply a novel you cannot miss."[2]

Film adaptation[edit]

In late 2009, it was announced that director Jason Reitman was in the process of adapting a script for Joyce Maynard's novel entitled Labor Day.[3] On June 16, 2011, it was announced that Kate Winslet and Josh Brolin committed to star as the film's leads Adele and Frank, respectively.[4] This was followed by news that Paramount Pictures and Indian Paintbrush will co-produce the film, with Paramount in charge of the film's distribution.[5]

Principal photography for the film began on June 13, 2012 in Massachusetts.[6] The filming locations included Shelburne, Acton, Mansfield, Natick, and Medway, Massachusetts.[7]


  1. ^ a b "Book Review: Joyce Maynard's 'Labor Day'". The Washington Post. 12 August 2009.
  2. ^ Labor Day Archived 2011-09-16 at the Wayback Machine HarperCollins. Retrieved on 27 June 2011
  3. ^ Breznican, Anthony (September 4, 2009). "'Up in the Air' director Jason Reitman stays grounded". USA Today. Retrieved September 23, 2012.
  4. ^ Breznican, Anthony (June 16, 2011). "Kate Winslet and Josh Brolin to join Jason Reitman's drama 'Labor Day' – EXCLUSIVE". Entertainment Weekly. Archived from the original on 2013-02-26. Retrieved September 23, 2012.
  5. ^ "Paramount and Indian Paintbrush Team with Reitman, Winslet, and Brolin for "Labor Day"". Paramount Pictures. September 10, 2011. Archived from the original on April 9, 2012. Retrieved September 23, 2012.
  6. ^ "Paramount Pictures and Indian Paintbrush Announce the Start of Principal Photography on Reitman's "Labor Day"". Paramount. June 13, 2012. Retrieved September 23, 2012.[permanent dead link]
  7. ^ Goldstein, Meredith (July 12, 2012). "Reports: Tobey Maguire joins local film 'Labor Day'". The Boston Globe.

External links[edit]