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The Graduate by Charles Webb

The Graduate (original 1963; edition 1970)

by Charles Webb

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929259,394 (3.31)92
Title:The Graduate
Authors:Charles Webb
Info:Penguin Books Ltd (1970), Paperback
Collections:Your library, To read
Tags:Fiction, Coming of age, TBR

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The Graduate by Charles Webb (1963)

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Showing 1-5 of 24 (next | show all)
This is even more fun to read than the famous film that is lifted almost entirely from the written dialogue. It’s deceptively short and, as it consists almost entirely of dialogue, very quick to read. It’s deceptive because it manages not only to pack in a great story but also to create some very enduring characters, none more so than Benjamin and the infamous Mrs Robinson.

So Benjamin graduates and everyone else but him is over the moon about the fact that he’s done so well. Everyone else consists entirely of his parents’ peers; Ben seems to have grown up in a youth vacuum.

His lackadaisical approach to life leads him into his illicit relations with his father’s business partner’s wife. Mrs Robinson is a manipulative alcoholic (the word manipulative there, for anyone familiar with alcoholics, is actually a redundancy) and bored with her present existence. She seems to need someone to spice up her sex life but nothing more and when Benjamin realises what he’s got himself into he wants out.

His realisation comes when he is reacquainted with daughter Elaine Robinson, who Mrs Robinson has forbidden him to date. But a date with her arranged by his parents creates a crisis which Mrs Robinson never recovers from.

The novel moves quickly. It has to before it runs into the back cover. But you move quickly with it. This is a novel you can easily finish in one sitting, and it’s very entertaining indeed. ( )
  arukiyomi | Nov 7, 2015 |
So I watched the movie and now, at long long last I've you've read the book! When I finished it I could see why it was so ripe at the time to be made into a film and it's mostly because the book is so short. Short in length short in detail, detail of characters scenes and discriptions there is so much detail missing from the book that when you watch the movie it all comes together but then again if you wanna fly through a book in no time at all then this is one for you. It's reasonably good - not the greatest read ever but readable all the same. ( )
  nikon | May 11, 2015 |
I suspect like most people I came to this book after seeing the film, a film I really enjoyed when it came out and which I found unrelievedly dull when I saw it again a few years ago. So when I took up this book which had been lying in a bookcase for many years, I didn’t expect too much.

What surprised me, though, was the lack of humour. I think Webb meant there to be some in the dialogue and in Benjamin’s pursuit of Elaine but I found him far too self-indulgent to be in a moody to find his antics amusing. Instead his interrogation of Elaine about the circumstances of Carl asking her to marry him is at best weird if not downright creepy. In the film Benjamin’s parents and friends all treat Benjamin in a pretty awful way, so complacent are they, but in this book the reader gets the feeling his parents are trying very hard to help him. So once again his rude rejection of them does little to endear him to the reader – and for me this is one of the fundamental problems with this novel – I don’t find myself on the protagonist’s side. In fact there’s no one I find ‘sympathetique’. And the pages of repetitive arguing are simply tedious.

With no Dustin Hoffman to raise the superficiality of the shallow Benjamin, I’m afraid this book has little to commend it to me. My Penguin edition is a little odd too – no question marks at the end of questions and a blurb on the back which tells the whole story right up to the last page – but then I guess everyone had seen the film. ( )
  evening | Feb 28, 2015 |
Interesting story line and witty interplay. I enjoyed the story but it is not truly clear whether one can obtain anything worthwhile from the story. The character of Elaine appears without self will and Benjamin seems largely disenchanted with life. ( )
  GlennBell | Dec 30, 2014 |
This is the story of a young man who has just graduated from an eastern college and has everything before him including a grant to go on for his graduate degree. He is smart, good looking and in an existential crisis. His parents are wealthy (obviously) and indulgent and proud until they realize their son is a lazy slob doing nothing then they get a little concerned. I disliked Ben from the beginning of the book and nothing changed at the end. I didn't like his parents and found it hard to believe that his parents would behave the way they did in the early sixties. If you think about 1963 and the author writing this story which was the post war era and perhaps the beginning of changes in family life then maybe the work deserves recognition but I really don't get why it was included as one of the 1001 books. The author's writing is sparse and reminded me of Hemingway a bit. It really was a book made for the movie even though it wasn't the author's intent. ( )
  Kristelh | Nov 25, 2014 |
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Benjamin Braddock graduated from a small Eastern college on a day in June.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0743456459, Paperback)

The basis for Mike Nichols' acclaimed 1967 film starring Dustin Hoffman -- and for successful stage productions in London and on Broadway -- this classic novel about a naive college graduate adrift in the shifting social and sexual mores of the 1960s captures with hilarity and insight the alienation of youth and the disillusionment of an era.

The Graduate

When Benjamin Braddock graduates from a small Eastern college and moves home to his parents' house, everyone wants to know what he's going to do with his life. Embittered by the emptiness of his college education and indifferent to his grim prospects -- grad school? a career in plastics? -- Benjamin falls haplessly into an affair with Mrs. Robinson, the relentlessly seductive wife of his father's business partner. It's only when beautiful coed Elaine Robinson comes home to visit her parents that Benjamin, now smitten, thinks he might have found some kind of direction in his life. Unfortuately for Benjamin, Mrs. Robinson plays the role of protective mother as well as she does the one of mistress. A wondrously fierce and absurd battle of wills ensues, with love and idealism triumphing over the forces of corruption and conformity.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:21:45 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

A recent college graduate from an affluent family comes of age and finds himself by being led into an affair with the wife and the daughter of his father's business partner.

(summary from another edition)

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Average: (3.31)
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2 16
2.5 13
3 67
3.5 13
4 48
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2 editions of this book were published by Audible.com.

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Penguin Australia

An edition of this book was published by Penguin Australia.

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