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The Graduate
 
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Charles Webb
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The Graduate

3.4 of 5 stars 3.40  ·  rating details  ·  4,459 ratings  ·  363 reviews
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.

When Benjamin Braddock graduates fr
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Published (first published 1963)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Nataliya
Rarely do I prefer film versions of a book over the book itself, but there's no contest here. Love or hate The Graduate - the cult 1960s film - you gotta agree it has heart, or at least that almost intangible something that burns it into memory.

To me that something has always been the very ending of the film, that final scene that adds a new dimension to otherwise lovely but okay film - those last moments on the bus with Simon and Garfunkel's The Sound of Silence in the background, with close-
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TK421
In 1963 a young man by the name of Charles Webb published a book called THE GRADUATE, a story that was supposedly based on a true story. It was a sensation. Four years later, it became a hit movie starring Anne Bancroft, Dustin Hoffman, and Katherine Ross. Okay, we all know these facts. Let's leave the movie alone and just focus on the book.

The plot is simple: a disenchanted, recently graduated, well-to-do young man has an affair with an attractive, well-to-do, older woman whose husband just so
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Mainon
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 int
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Shovelmonkey1
Aug 27, 2011 Shovelmonkey1 rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: would be seducers
Recommended to Shovelmonkey1 by: 1001 books list and danielle23
Probably best known as a film and for those famous lines "Mrs Robinson, are you trying to seduce me?"

So the first point of order in this review is this: if someone has to ask if you're trying to seduce them then it probably follows that you are doing a piss-poor job in the seduction department. Either that or your object of lust is particularly obtuse. In fact, much of this book and the bumbling inanities of the young Benjamin Braddock provide a clear selection of examples of how NOT to practise
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MJ Nicholls
Charles Webb is a possible candidate for the BURIED book club, if this book wasn’t still popular, and it isn’t really—the film and stage show and tea towel and thong range are popular, who reads the book nowadays? The novel is written so sparsely and simply it functions pretty much as a blueprint for Mike Nichols’s script—90% of the action is told in dialogue with occasional flat descriptive passages for the frantic parts. A neurotic boy wonder returns to the suburbs to deliberate on the predete ...more
Jeanette  "Astute Crabbist"
"...koo-koo-ka-choo Miss-us Rob-in-son...dee dee dee dee doo doo doo doo doo...wo, wo, wo...

This book is pointless and inane, but I had to satisfy my curiosity. The best thing I can say about it is that it's short. I might have given it 2 stars if it actually had an ending. ANY kind of ending. But it does not. It just stops, like it's the end of a chapter and more is coming. Don't bother looking for more pages. It really IS over.

I've never seen the film, but I remember when I was a kid those mo
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~Sara~
Meet Benjamin. He's 21 and just graduated college. No seriously, he's 21, not a fifteen year old delinquent from a broken family. The author tells us so even though he forgot to make him act like it. Benjamin is mad at the world for being so materialistic. "Get that silver spoon out of my mouth! I hate you, I hate you, I hate you all!. I hate Mrs. Robinson, but I'll sleep with her anyway, I hate my parents for loving and supporting my useless ass, and I hate Elaine for being forced to date her a ...more
Marvin
I was never enamored with the film The Graduate as was most of my peers. But I did sit in awe at the performances of Dustin Hoffman and the calculated socio-pathology of Anne Bancroft as Mrs. Robinson. Unfortunately the novel on which the film is based doesn't even have that going for it. It is a rather pointless story with very unlikable and pathetic characters. Mrs Robinson fares fairly well as she is a cardboard precursor to Desperate Housewives but Benjamin Braddock comes off even more pathe ...more
Mark Mallett
This was like reading the movie, only less so. I've always wanted to read the book because I liked the movie, but wow, the film is mostly the book line-for-line, minus a couple of events, and plus a lot of atmosphere. And frankly, the book+atmosphere is way better than the book alone, to the point where it's hard to imagine that somebody read this book 50 years ago and saw enough worth in it to make a movie out of it. It seems to be a celebration of aloofness and self-centered decadence, or perh ...more
K.D. Absolutely
This was an easy read for me. I was in college when I read this novel after seeing the equally successful film on TV rerun. I was able to relate few years after when I had a short affair with an officemate 15 years my senior. However, there was no Elaine that ended the short affair. We just got tired of each other. Looking back, I think I was somewhat influenced by this. Well, I was very young then so it was just part of growing up.
Kirk
Just because I'm a print guy I figured I owed it to the history of the novel to read the book on which the movie is based. (If only the history of the novel would have been kind enough to thank me). As other posters note, the big surprise here is that much of what we think of as Buck Henry's wit in the film originated with Charles Webb. That said, Benjamin is a colder character here than when incarnated as Dustin Hoffman, whose nebbishness is the center of his performance's charm. It's also hard ...more
Printable Tire
I don't really know why I decided to read this one, to be honest. Probably because I apparently spent $1.25(!) on it and that's a lot of money for me, and also possibly because I see it as one of the first novels to tackle the particularly middle or upper-middle class dillemma of being overeducated and not sure what to do with one's life, which has interest to me as it partains to "twntysomething/slack lit," which I am trying to read as much as I can of before I turn thirty.

Everyone's asking Ben
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Eliana Rivero
Esta novela no me pareció la gran cosa y no me gustó tanto como pensé que me gustaría. Creo que funciona más para el teatro o para el cine que para una novela. Los diálogos fueron previsibles, parcos y llanos. No me los creí, además del excesivo uso de la pregunta ¿cómo? para reflejar sorpresa.

A pesar de que la historia es pícara, polémica y controvertida, no ahonda realmente en sentimientos, psicologías o emociones. Me pareció que le faltó profundidad, tanto en el transcurso de los acontecimien
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Jenny (adultishbooks)
I have seen the film multiple times and wanted to read the source material.

The book and the film are carbon copies of one another and in this instance, the movie is 100x better. While Dustin Hoffman brings a charm and earnestness to Benjamin Braddock, Benjamin in the book is lazy, ornery, and straight-up weird. If you know anything about me, you know that I love and appreciate simplistic language. However, the language in this novel is so rudimentary that it holds the story back from its full po
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Pewterbreath
Dec 04, 2007 Pewterbreath rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anybody who liked the movie
Ever been disappointed with a movie after reading the book? This is the exact opposite--this book is exactly like the movie. It might as well have been the script with the names taken out. This was ok--but I found it a rather unnecessary read---the movie has completely eclipsed this thing.
Hank
Jul 10, 2007 Hank rated it 1 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: whiney rich boys who want to "find themselves".
Oh, good Lord. All I can say is that the popularity of the movie is clearly based on attractive, skilled actors and a good soundtrack.
Will Jeffrey
Rebel with the Blahs

Of course I've seen the movie. I liked it more when I was younger. I read a critical article of the film version of The Graduate in a serious film study journal, and gained a better appreciation for the film. Well, I don't care how isolated he feels I cannot sympathize with Benjamin Braddock.
The film and the novel are very close in plot line and dialog, but the film is more entertaining to watch than the novel is to read. Unlike most book reviews I've read however, I think t
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Jeruen
This is probably one of the most disturbing novels I have read in a while. The thing is, I constantly did battle with every character in this novel. That may be a good thing, but sometimes, it can get into one's nerves.

Plenty here might have known about the movie that started Dustin Hoffman's career, back in 1967. He played a young college graduate, who gets seduced by an older woman, Mrs. Robinson, and then falls in love with her daughter Elaine.

So plot-wise, that is the basic gist of things. T
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Gregg
Young Benjamin Braddock finishes school and then realizes he doesn't know what he wants to do with his life. He struggles with this angst for all of twenty pages before his father's partner's wife makes a pass at him, an affair from which he progresses to the daughter and a madcap race for love and purpose.

Maybe I'm too steeped in the Gen X/21st century mentality that takes for granted the futility and torpor of what we deem modern suburban society too much to appreciate the social commentary i
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umberto
I think reading this novel in my early twenties was another experience as compared to watching the movie. Around four decades ago, my friends and I enjoyed the movie starring (the great) Dustin Hoffman (I'm sorry I can't recall his female counterpart as Mrs. Robinson) as well as some fantastic, romantic and wistful songs by Simon and Garfunkel, for instance, 'The Sound of Silence', 'Scarborough Fair', etc.

During that time loosely called, 'The Period of Identity', in the midst of some Thai and f
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David Keaton
I've probably seen The Graduate approximately 327 times, and the New Yorker, as well as my sister, calls it "The biggest success in the history of movies," so finally reading this book and picturing anything besides those actors, those shots, and, of course, that music, was always going to be impossible. But it seemed like a good beach read this weekend, and movie tie-in covers on books from the '60s aren't quite as hideous as our tie-in covers now, so I read it in an afternoon, and it's a fast, ...more
Laura
From BBC Radio 4:
It's the summer of 1963 in suburban California and Benjamin Braddock has the world at his feet. He's just graduated from university with a teaching scholarship, his dad has bought him a fancy new Italian sports car, and all the Braddocks' friends and neighbours have been invited to a house party to celebrate. There's just one problem. Benjamin refuses to leave his room...
Matej Vidaković
Poprilično sam izbirljiv kad su u pitanju filmovi i još izbirljiviji kad neki film trebam nazvati "najdražim". Možda zato i nije iznenađujuće što se na mojoj listi najdražih nalazi veoma mali broj filmova. To su (ne nužno ovim redom) : 500 Days of Summer, Her, Night on Earth, Vječni sjaj nepobjedivog uma , te Diplomac. Budući da Diplomca obožavam još tamo negdje od 6. razreda kada sam ga pogledao sigurno nekih tridesetak puta, i budući da sam zaista svjestan kultnog statusa tog filma, knjige sam ...more
Desislava
I didn't like how at times dialogue read exactly like a movie script, totally flat. And if this was written as a screenplay and not a novel, then it would have been an okay read but it was not. I didn't like any of the characters. (view spoiler)

I don't know, maybe I missed the
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Danice
The Graduate is a fabulous book. Spoiler alert, I am going to tell you why.

I think the first thing that comes to mind with this book is, Ben having the affair with Mrs. Robinson, but I think that the book is so much more than that and the affair is merely a vehicle through which we see this disillusioned East coast grad become the man he expected he would become when he graduated from college.

First. We have Ben returning home from the East coast college. Several places in the book, they mentio
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Ryan Zwick
This is a non-fiction book that is meant to describe a young man who has no direction of where he wants to take his life. This story is loosely based on the author's own experience in his life. The author wanted you to know that student in the story had all opportunities in his life and just threw them away. He had a prize for his teaching and let it go. One of the themes in this book is about how some young people have no ambition. I think the author's goal was writing a book that could show yo ...more
Zaneta
I got this book, appropriately enough, as a college graduation/birthday gift. I've never seen the movie except for the infamous ending and (just now) the trailer, which actually gives away the entire plot (boy graduates from college, is seduced by an older woman, and then falls in love with older woman's daughter). But despite the little I've seen of the film, the novel has none of the quirky humor and appeal the film seems to have.

The plot itself is a "What is going on?" scenario. Bypassing the
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Lily
I have read lots of reviews for this book and many people do not like the characters because they're "horrible people." The story may seem shallow and Ben seems to be spiraling down, but I think he is going through something many men and women at his age go through. The more one learns, the more they are prone to question things. For example, questioning paying for an education you can get for free. He's seeing his ivy league education as being pretentious, or at least that's what I got from the ...more
Prakriti
The Graduate is a fantastic book, and since the time I have heard rumours of it being based on a true story, autobiographical by some accounts, my respect for Charles Webb has gone up quite a few notches.

This has perhaps the best set of dialogues about a well, a Mrs. Robinson kinda love story that I have ever had the pleasure to read ("I think you are the most attractive of all of my parents' friends, Mrs. Robinson").

The ennui, the direction-lessness and uninvolved personality of Benjamin has
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April
I don't know what to make of this book.

Benjamin Braddock, recent college graduate, returns home and becomes a slacker, mooch, and motherlover. He covered himself in glory while he was in school, but once school was over, he lost his drive.

I know there is a bit of depression that comes when one has to face adulthood, but Benjamin Braddock takes it to the extreme, dropping out of everything.

Perhaps Mrs. Robinson offers a distraction, or perhaps he really is attracted to her; at any rate, the two
...more
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40163
Charles Webb (born in San Francisco, California) is the author of several novels, mainly known for his most famous work, The Graduate. The novel was eventually made into an enormously successful film.
More about Charles Webb...
Home School New Cardiff Love, Roger marriage of a young stockbroker METHOD AGING and Improvisational Longevity

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“I am not trying to seduce you.

"I know that. But please, Mrs. Robinson. This is difficult for me."

"Why is it," she said

"Because I am confused about things. I can't tell what I'm imagining. I can't tell what's real. I can't --"

"Would you like me to seduce you?"

"What?"

"Is that what you're trying to tell me?”
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