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The Graduate by Charles Webb

The Graduate (original 1963; edition 1970)

by Charles Webb

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887239,972 (3.31)88
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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English (22)  Spanish (1)  All languages (23)
Showing 1-5 of 22 (next | show all)
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 |
I confess to have seen the movie first. This is a coming of age story, and a descendant of "Catcher in the Rye", IMHO. The film was better than the novel, but each has its charms. I'd rather re-watch the film, though. ( )
  DinadansFriend | Apr 21, 2014 |
Basic Summary: Benjamin Braddock is an ivy league graduate who comes home to his rich parents with a terrible attitude. He is seduced by the wife of his father's business partner [the infamous, Mrs. Robinson], who tells her daughter that he raped her, then he runs off with the daughter of Mrs. Robinson, right as she's about to marry someone else. (The daughter, by the way, is just as much of a loon as he is. One minute telling him that she better never see him again and the next that she loves him)

This book was awful. The dialogue reminded me of, a slightly more intelligent, Twilight. Not in plot, obviously. Strictly in the horrid writing. Now don't get me wrong, I understand what a risque and taboo book this must've been in 1963 when it was published; perhaps that made up for its wretched writing.

Verbatim dialogue example, punctuation and all:
Oh, his father said. 'Did you talk to some of the Indians?
'Yes Dad'
'They speak English, do they?'
'They try.'
'Well what else did you -'.
'Dad, the trip was a waste of time and I'd rather not talk about it.'
'Oh?' his father said. 'What do you say that.'
'It was a bore.'

Oh, but you say, perhaps the writing got better and there were only a few spots that were rough. Let me squash that for you:

'Will you marry me?'
She shook her head.
'You won't?'
'I don't know', she said quietly.
'But you might?'
She nodded.
'You might, did you say?'
'I might?'
'Is that so? You might marry me?'
'What time is it.'

The entire book is written in this dry, stilted mess. As if the scene were being delivered by some defect-ridden robots. Pish-posh, this is one classic you can skip the book and watch the movie instead. The worst part is that this book doesn't even have an ending. It ends in the middle of a scene, no - seriously, it does. Not in a fun, cliffhanger, edge-of-your-seat way either. In an 'are you serious, I just read this whole book for nothing' way. ( )
1 vote tealightful | Sep 24, 2013 |
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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 Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:56:26 -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)
1 7
1.5 2
2 16
2.5 11
3 68
3.5 12
4 45
4.5 4
5 19


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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