Wednesday, 11 February 2015

Labor Day by Joyce Maynard

“But there was some­thing about the way Frank fed my mother that made the whole thing al­most beau­ti­ful, like he was a jew­eler or a sci­en­tist, or one of those old Japan­ese men who work all day on a sin­gle bon­sai.”

This is a concise work of beauty and I am so glad that I've delayed seeing the film version until reading the original work. It expertly elicits the emotional torments of love, lost, denial and adolescence in an enticingly concentrated form.

Henry so desperately seeks a solid masculine figure in his life, as does his mother post the rejection of her husband and the torments of too many miscarriages. Tragedy has forced Henry's mother to spurn society and live in a strange cocoon-like half life with her young son. Henry feels rejected by his father and at odds with the society around him, cut adrift without any guidance.

Enter Frank. The hulking spectre of pure masculinity that enshrouds a sensitive heart. A man on the run from the law, a dangerous man; and yet one who will indelibly imprint on the sheltered divorcee and her son.

The writing is emotive and draws you in. You feel every inch of teenage confusion through Henry's eyes, but also sense the sheer magnetic draw of Frank and Adele. Stirring stuff.

5 out of 5 ways to avoid speed dating, take in a fugitive.

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