Most of us say summer reading is different than real reading because it’s not as serious and we are willing to let things slide a bit or accept less realistic situations. And Labor Day is definitely summer reading (or perhaps summer reaching) according to that definition. It’s also well-written, technically speaking, but the real question is, how did this book make it past the first 10 pages, without someone pushing the “I Call Bullshit” button?
Let me explain:
Henry Wheeler and his mom are at Pricemart getting some back to school clothes and other household items, when a tall man approaches Henry. Henry immediately notices the man is bleeding. STRANGER DANGER! STRANGER DANGER! Does Henry run away screaming? No. On the contrary, he UNDERSTANDS when the stranger says that blood tends to freak people out. WHAT? The stranger is nice, he’s polite, and when he alerts Henry to the fact that he will be kidnapping him, it is shown through a firm grip on the shoulder. And then, three minutes later (still covered in blood, by the way) when he meets Henry’s mom, Adele, she agrees to being kidnapped and the three get in her car and drive away.
THIS IS THE WORST PARENTING EVER! Would you willingly let a stranger take you and your child hostage in your house? I think not. But Adele and Henry can see that Frank is good deep down (because of course, he clearly has a good aura that compensates for the blood and the fact he’s taking them hostage). Again I say, WHAT?
Of course, because it is summer reading it turns out that Frank IS nice, and within a few days he and Adele have fallen in love and start planning a fugitive future together. It’s like Patty Hearst without the Stockholm Syndrome. Am I the ONLY person who finds this a preposterous premise? What did you think?