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The Graduate

(The Graduate #1)

3.40  ·  Rating details ·  8,871 ratings  ·  725 reviews
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 wi ...more
Paperback, 272 pages
Published April 2nd 2002 by Washington Square Press (first published 1963)
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Average rating 3.40  · 
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 ·  8,871 ratings  ·  725 reviews

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Jan 30, 2014 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2014-reads
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-
Jun 21, 2011 rated it did not like it
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
Barry Pierce
The 60s were great. I think. I wouldn’t know, I was born in 1996. A world where a middle-aged woman seduces a boy who is barely out of his teens and it becomes one of the most enjoyable and humourous books of the decade. I adored The Graduate. There’s something in the prose, something in the plot, something in the characters, something in the dry humour that just tick, tick, tick, ticked all of my boxes. I tried to stop reading, to take a break, but no, it wasn’t happening. I was so invested in ...more
Apr 25, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: literary
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
Ahmad Sharabiani
The Graduate, Charles Webb
The Graduate is a 1963 novella by Charles Webb, who wrote it shortly after graduating from Williams College. It tells the story of Benjamin Braddock, who, while pondering his future after his graduation, has an affair with the older Mrs. Robinson, the wife of his father's business partner.
تاریخ نخستین خوانش: بیستم ماه آگوست سال 1971 میلادی
عنوان: در سکرات عشق - فارغ التحصیل؛ نویسنده: چارلز وب؛ مترجم: ا. انوریان؛ تهران، بامداد، 1344، در 244 ص
ا. شربیانی
Jan 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
‘Mrs Robinson, you are trying to seduce me.’

Having really enjoyed the movie and this being one of the books in the ‘Rory Gilmore Reading Challenge’, it gave me two reasons to want to read it.

What surprised me most about the novel was how similar the dialogue between the characters seem to be from my strong memories of watching the film.
I could instantly hear Dustin Hoffman’s Benjamin Braddock jump straight from the page.

I don’t mind when movies and novels differ, though a straightforward adaptat
Jeanette (Ms. Feisty)
"...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
Aug 25, 2011 rated it liked it
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
“I am not trying to seduce you.

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

The Graduate by Charles Webb.

I cannot do this book justice in a review. Classic, fantastic, must read.
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
Mar 29, 2017 rated it did not like it
It's probably pretty obvious that I didn't like this book. It was 260 pages of a book that was mostly dialogue so it should have taken 5 minutes to read, or three hours at most.

This is what really happened:
I need a nap
Nap for an hour
I want to buy some books
I don't really have any I want to buy
What about some of those Martin Amis ones I've been drooling over?
I really need a new purse
Maybe I should do a reading challenge for postmodernism next year
Shirley Revill
Aug 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction, romance, classic
I read this book ages ago and also watched the film.
Now I have the lyrics of Simon and Garfunkel running through my head.

Here's to you Mrs Robinson
Jesus loves you more than you will know
Wo, Wo,Wo
God bless you, please,Mrs Robinson
Heaven holds a place for those who pray

Loved the song too. Pure nostalgia.
Dec 26, 2015 rated it did not like it
Shelves: one-star, ya
This book was pointless!
The dialog was so boring... "Elaine""What""Nothing""What".... ugh, I'm not afraid to say that these characters made absolutely no sense. Ben and Elaine, I hope you really end up together and leave your poor parents alone.
Mrs. Robinson was not great, but she was the most interesting one and the one who acted with purpose. She was depressed and/or bored with her life, and an alcoholic. She reacted ~"as expected"~ when Ben went out with Elaine. I didn't like her husband or
Feb 10, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
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 film ( starring (the great) Dustin Hoffman as Benjamin Braddock, Anne Bancroft as Mrs. Robinson, and Katharine Ross as her daughter Elaine as well as some fantastic, romantic and wistful songs by Simon and Garfunkel, for instance, 'The Sound of Silence', 'Scarborough Fair', 'Mrs. Robinson', etc.

Barry Cunningham
I read this just after the film was a smash hit, it was OK, well written cute story of growing up.
Sep 22, 2010 rated it did not like it
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
Well, yeah!

I don't really mind a boy who tries to break free from the brutal boredom of the American Conventional Dream. Actually, I find it quite interesting that he dares to see the meaninglessness of repeating empty patterns over and over again.

I don't mind the affair between him and Mrs Robinson either. After all, soothing the pain and filling the inner void with sex is way more healthy than doing it with endless booze, which seems to be the only other solution that their community can come
Man, this book was weird! Sort of like Hemingway with an autistic protagonist. I guess it's supposed to be social commentary, about suburban Americans caring only about the way things look.
The first chapter was difficult to read, about Benjamin being so rude and awkward to the party guests. His first night with Mrs. Robinson was pretty funny, though. But since I already knew the plot (even though I haven't seen the movie yet), the twists lacked a punch. Also, you never find out quite why Ben is
K.D. Absolutely
May 04, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: 1001-core, love-story
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.
Sep 28, 2017 rated it it was ok
Ok I know this book has so much buzz because it is very controversial. But for me, the main character is not really well develop. I can not understand the how the main character thought. I can not connect either with the character.

Not for me.
Mark Mallett
Jul 02, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, ebook
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
May 07, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
Almost everyone's heard of The Graduate, right? The film's become iconic for it's depiction of the older-woman/younger man relationship.

However, if you've watched the film, I'd advise you to skip the book entirely as it reads more like a screenplay more than anything else. At first, I thought I was reading a script and that I'd been swindled out of my money, but no, it turns out that this was the actual novel.


Well, Webb's novel is mostly dialogue-heavy, so don't expect any beautiful desc
Printable Tire
Jul 07, 2011 rated it liked it
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
Jan 08, 2008 rated it liked it
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
Jul 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Can you love a book and hate it at the same time? Mrs. Robinson played true to her seductress role was more devious than I anticipated. Ben is a spoiled entitled brat. There was no rooting for him. Elaine was a week character that pretty much did whatever anyone told her. Ugh! And the other three were plain victims. But even with all of that I couldn’t put it down. Webb did a great job of making me feel Ben’s anxiety, and I Ben’s desperation to get Elaine back. I had to know what happened. At th ...more
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...
Carla Remy
Sep 09, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
From 1963
Quite a spare novel, more dialogue than description. I love the sudden, open ending. Just like the movie, yes. Luckily, the book is shortish, because I don't know how much I enjoyed reading about disaffected, depressed characters and their messed up love lives. I mean, if that's the only plot.
Dec 06, 2019 rated it liked it
Authors like Charles Webb who can create a novel almost entirely out of dialogue awe me in a way. The year is 1963, and Benjamin Braddock has graduated from college. His parents are thrilled, the family friends are proud, and Ben is at a complete loss as to what to do next. He falls into a fugue of sorts--sleeping till late in the afternoon, then floating in the pool for hours, then getting drunk and watching TV till late into the night. His parents are at a loss as to how to help him. Watching ...more
Shin Gaku
Jul 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
This novel is a masterpiece which conveys us the atmosphere of 60's. Back then conservative values were still highly estimated. This novel throws a question about our life. Is it correct to become a good citizen and obey the rule which the society pushes to us ? Benjamin is not an attractive guy, but I cannot blame his behavior. His rebel may fail but it's worth trying. He seems anti-hero of the day but actually a hero of this hopelessly dull world. ...more
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Reading 1001: The Graduate 3 8 Jun 06, 2020 01:56PM  
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Charles Webb (born in San Francisco, California) was the author of several novels, mainly known for his most famous work, The Graduate. The novel was eventually made into an enormously successful film.

Other books in the series

The Graduate (2 books)
  • Home School (The Graduate, #2)

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56 likes · 15 comments
“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?"


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