Labor Day by Joyce Maynard – Movie/Book Club

Stack of books

Stack of books

Readers react with mixed emotion when they hear that a book they’ve read is being made into a movie, especially a favorite one. I confess that I’m no different. I try to judge by the attached director, approve or seethe over the casting choices, and find either affirmation or more trepidation upon viewing the first trailers and stills from the movie.  When I heard that a movie was being made of Labor Day, Joyce Maynard’s 2009 novel about the unlikely romance between an escaped convict and the housewife he takes hostage (along with her son), I was intrigued because I remembered enjoying it when it was initially published.

My book club was fortunate enough to receive copies of the paperback movie tie-in version of the novel and passes for a screening of the film, which we plan to attend next month. I was really taken with Labor Day when I first read it back in 2009. The premise of the novel stretches credulity a bit in terms of whether a romance like this could have occurred, but the love story is a sumptuous one, and I loved these characters. They were rich and real and I loved seeing the way they developed in the aftermath of a weekend that proved a critical turning point in all their lives. I was really excited to hear what my book club would have to say about, and I am especially looking forward to the discussion after we have all seen the movie.

So far, the feedback upon reading the book has been mixed – with a slight majority enjoying the book. I’ve found that this is the sign of a great book club book. There has never been all that much discussion at my clubs over books that are universally adored. Usually with those books we say we loved it and then get on with the good work of drinking wine and eating great food.

Everyone was curious about the pie-making scene and thought it was a pivotal point in the book. So we are all waiting for that. One of the members had a hard time getting through the book but thought that the trailer makes the movies seem a lot more interesting  than the book.  Those of us who loved it were just as interested in the themes of trauma, empowerment and hope. One our member had this high praise for Labor Day: “This story is about coming ALIVE, re-birth; honesty; goodheartedness; going with the flow; following dreams.”

Labor Day opens in wide-release today. I’ll report back when we’ve seen the movie.

1DA652C2516038AE4D02F55645591F39 BOOK CLUB   Forgotten Country by Catherine Chung

Oh, and Happy New Year. -p

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12 Comments

  1. I never read this book, but I DO remember when it first released. Everyone was reading it, and I felt a little left out at the time! I was pretty excited to see that the movie was coming out though…great casting I thought. But OMG, it got a 35% on Rotten Tomatoes! I can roll with it if it has 50% or 60% but that is bad. They used phrases like “pallid melodrama” and “ill-advised plot”. So I guess the critics had issues with the believability too…

    1. I saw a sneak preview and I think it definitely suffers from a lack of context. When I re-read some of the book I was immediately connected and understood the characters. I think they need to have a better job explaining Adele’s circumstances.

  2. I just loaded this book to my iPad a few days ago. I’ll be waiting to hear what you think of the movie.

  3. Everyone in my book club liked this book a lot. I mentioned that I couldn’t picture someone taking a stranger home from a store like that and one of our members confessed she’d done it before and the man she brought home spent the weekend with them!! We go to see the movie tomorrow.

    1. That must have been a surprise to find out at book club. I looked back and remembered that you had introduced me to this book back when it first came out. Good times!

  4. I hadn’t read the book when I saw the movie and kept wondering where/when/if it departed from the book. After seeing the movie, I definitely want to go back and read the book.

    Getting on with “the good work of drinking and eating great food” is a favorite part of book club for me!