The Graduate

The Graduate

Book - 2002
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Benjamin Braddock, totally confused about his life after his college graduation, begins an affair with Mrs. Robinson, the wife of his father's law partner, but does not realize the enormity of his mistake until he falls in love with the Robinson's daughter, Elaine.
Publisher: New York : Washington Square Press, [2002], c1963
ISBN: 9780743456456
Branch Call Number: FICTION WEBB
Characteristics: 261 p. ; 21 cm


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Apr 29, 2018

As backstory to this mini-review, I must disclose that I've never seen famous 1967 movie based on this book. So, I picked up this book thinking that it was a romantic comedy. In my defense, I must note that the library had affixed one of those cute red heart stickers to the spine and the NY Times reviewed it as "ludicrously funny." After reading the book, I felt as entirely misled as Benjamin Braddock himself because this book is certainly not a romance and there's nothing humourous here. But, it remains an excellent novel for entirely different reasons. Benjamin Braddock has just graduated from an expensive American college and feels intensely disenfranchised with the world. He decides to deal with his unhappiness by languishing in his parent's basement and by having a meaningless affair with one of the older neighbours. Every character in the book is so vividly drawn that I was utterly compelled to watch the resulting train wreck tear apart this most conservative American family.

brianreynolds Aug 26, 2013

Why is it chicks like chick-lit so much? The label (of the genre) implies that "love conquers all" is a gender-specific storyline. I won't dispute that, but I'll suggest it might also be sensitive to history. Charles Webb's classic, <i>The Graduate</i> delighted me in part because it brought back a memory of, not just a movie and the person with whom I first watched it, but a time when anything seemed possible within the magic of that four-letter word. In 1963, it was not just amusing to watch a young man and woman bulldoze their way into a future they believed they could create based on literally nothing except the magic of that word, it was also <i>my</i> belief, the belief of my peers, the belief of my nation. In 1963 villainous parents were the biggest bogeys I could imagine. Being seduced was a wet dream, not the modus operandi of governments and businesses. Yes, Webb's dialogue is brilliant. Yes, his punctuation is careless. But, the story? While it might be less comprehensible to males of a more recent generation, it is now the familiar pattern of rom com, the mantra of a lost era, the memory of a time and an age when love-at-first-sight ruled my world.

Apr 10, 2010

I found this novel intriguing because of its style: it was almost like reading a play. All of the subtleties are in the dialogue, either by the words chosen or by the silences. The obvious misunderstandings in the generations, the young adults naivete, the old adults cruelty all come together to create tension-filled relationships where lies, mislaid good intentions and disillusion dominate.

I'm not sure I truly understand Mrs. Robinsons' motivation for evil (I don't think she was much interested in Benjamin) and the ending has a goofy optimism which clashes with the rest of the novel, but overall I very much enjoyed the break in tradition, questioning of values and triumph of the young. Definitely representative of an epoch.


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