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The Graduate (The Graduate, #1)
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1001 book reviews > The Graduate

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Kristel (kristelh) | 3797 comments Mod
Read 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.


Diane Zwang | 1189 comments Mod
4 stars for me. Read in 2014

I was heavily influenced by the movie in reading this book, Dustin Hoffman and Anne Bancroft are very memorable actors. Actually I wasn't even aware that the movie was based off of a book when I saw it. I read this book as if it were a character study of Benjamin Braddock; a disillusioned college grad of the 1960s. I didn't feel sorry for Ben as he spiraled out of control but more shook my head at the absurdity of it all. I rather enjoyed this short book that read like a conversation. I can see that the screen writers didn't have to do much with this book as there was so much dialogue in it.


message 3: by Liz M (new) - added it

Liz M | 194 comments Why it is on the 1001 list: "The 1963 novel is so much eclipsed by the 1967 movie...that we should recall that most of its iconic moments already exist in Webb's text.... As fiction, The Graduate is notable for its flat and understated but expressive prose."

I haven't seen the iconic movie. Hoo boy, I see no reason for this book to be on the 1001 list, absent nostalgia for the movie.

Benjamin returns from a successful college career, winning an award/scholarship for teaching that will pay for Grad school (he's been accepted to Yale, Harvard, and Columbia), but poor Ben is disillusioned with the world. The readers know this because he says so, over and over. Their is no interiority in the novel so the reader has no context, no reason for Ben's depression and spiral into self-destructive and then predatory behavior. No one feels real and Mrs. Robinson and Elaine might as well be blow-up dolls and mannequins, respectively. Benjamin's treatment of Elaine is despicable and, but, of course, she seems to go along with it.

My problem with this novel may be a problem with satire in general, but at least the overly stilted behavior and 1960s jargon was vaguely amusing. And it was short.


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