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The Graduate by Charles Webb

The Graduate (original 1963; edition 1970)

by Charles Webb

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1,037308,137 (3.23)109
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 29 (next | show all)
I am sure I can write a review in the style of this book. I read most of it on a subway and then on a bus. I stopped and stared at the words on the pages sometimes. Then I would talk to myself.

"Self, are you enjoying this book?"

"Why? Are you trying to seduce me?"

"I have no idea what you're talking about. I just want you to unzip my dress because I can't reach the zipper. But really, are you enjoying this book?"

"Not really. I mean it's interesting in the way that truly awful things are always interesting. But it must be better than I think because it's so famous. But no, I guess I'm not really enjoying it."

"What are you going to do about that?"


"What do you mean nothing?"

"I mean nothing. I'm just going to sit here and keep reading."

"How can you do nothing? Why would you read a book you're not enjoying? What's wrong with you?"

"I just can, that's all."

"Well I don't see how you can. You need to do something. You should have a plan. A definite plan. I'm going to worry about you until you have a definite plan."

"If I come up with a definite plan to do something other than nothing, will you marry me?"

"Well I used to think you raped my mother and five minutes ago I never wanted to see you again. So I guess my answer is maybe."

"Great, let's go get our blood tests in the morning."

"Maybe. But I might have decided to marry someone else by then."

I almost gave it two stars because it was interesting in a very awkward way. But then I realized how much the above dialogue summed up the book for me. I had to take away the second star.
( )
  BraveNewBks | Mar 10, 2016 |
The story of The graduate, an American novel by the author Charles Webb, published in 1963, is simply ridiculous, and if it had not been as funny, would be easy to dismiss. The plot is not so very unlikely, except that the hap-snap, abrupt sequence of events is startling. It gives the impression that the main character, Benjamin Braddock is tossed around, without any volition of himself.

This is actually what the novel is very much about. Benjamin feels he has been pushed through school and college, but that his achievements are somehow disconnected from him, and that any choices in life were not his. After graduation, and on the evening of his twenty-first birthday, he seems to want to change that. A rebelliousness emerges, but strain of habit, listening to his parents, and social conventions seem to form such a straight-jacket that he cannot determine on his own what to do that evening. The climax of the evening is his being nearly seduced by Mrs Robinson, a friends of his parents.

Since everything is his life seems to be prepared and laid out by his parents, Benjamin wants to break free. A road trip lasts but three week, and is little more than a failure. To break conventionality, he starts an extra-marital affair with Mrs Robinson. After the Robinsons' daughter, Elaine returns home after graduation, Benjamin ends up in a tug and pull of feelings for her. Initially he rejects dating her, because it seems a pre-arranged match by their parents, but later he irrationally falls in love with Elaine head over heels.

While the story can be told in a straightforward manner, Benjamin's conduct is ludicrous, but however ridiculous plot elements seem to be, they are also very recognizable, if only perhaps as a hyperbole.

The graduate is almost pure dialogue, with a minimum of narrative. Being very humourous, it is a very easy read. Large parts of the novel are complete slap-stick, but if you are willing to get along, it is a very funny comedy of manners. ( )
  edwinbcn | Feb 23, 2016 |
2.5 stars (rounded to 3 for Shelfari)
The Graduate is the story of a young, disillusioned, college graduate whose boredom and lack of direction leads him to have an affair with a married woman. The book explores sexual and social expectations in the 1960s. Life is seen as empty and youth are disillusioned.

Let me start off by saying that I didn’t hate this book. I just don't’ think I really got it. I find reading about directionless people tedious and even more so when they are entitled, young men of privildege. I realize that the style was intended to be humorous, but I just didn’t care what happened to the main character and his actions (bordering on stalking at times) were rather silly (to me). I do think that it captured the notion of a college graduate drifting through his post-graduate life, and it did a nice job reflecting the sense of disillusionment of a specific era. It just felt cartoonish to me. The dialogue was infuriating to me, not funny. I think the topic had merit but it was presented in such a shallow, superficial way that for me it lost its meaning as a social commentary. Character development was minimal. And as for the romance, it was not believable in any way -- perhaps this was supposed to be part of the comedy but as I mentioned earlier, I just didn't get it.

I haven't seen the movie. I actually think the dialogue might work well for a movie. Perhaps I would have found it funnier as a movie. ( )
  JenPrim | Jan 15, 2016 |
The Graduate Charles Webb
2.5 Stars

This is the story of disillusioned graduate student Benjamin Braddock and his ill advised affair with the wife of his fathers business partner.

The book is broken down into 3 parts the first of which was the most enjoyable for me. In part 1 it is possible to relate to Ben a student whose entire life has been building up to this point he has achieved what he set out to achieve and now doesn't think he wants it, he is disillusioned and bored with life and I think this is something that can happen when you reach the point where your life is no longer about goals but about settling down and deciding how to live the rest of it.

Parts 2 and 3 took a severe drop downwards Bens behaviour is bizarre but not as bizarre as that of them women in the novel.

The story is told from Bens point of view so he at least is 3 dimensional everyone else in the novel is a cardboard cut out, I as a reader had no idea what motivated or why they behaved in the totally peculiar ways they did, especially with regard to their feelings toward Ben.

The ending drove me mad because it explained nothing and again a female character behaved totally bizarrely when considering what had happened throughout the rest of the book

Not having seen the film I had no expectations and the book managed to live up to them ( )
  BookWormM | Jan 15, 2016 |
I didn't like the film, I didn't like the book much either. ( )
  sashinka | Jan 14, 2016 |
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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)

» see all 4 descriptions

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Penguin Australia

An edition of this book was published by Penguin Australia.

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