THE GRADUATE by Charles Webb


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The Graduate, Ben Braddock, is 21 and not too much younger than the author here. He comes home to California, to a new sports car, and the rather fatuous bromides of his parents. He is an ""ivy covered status symbol""-- but he is also ""tired"" and very bored. And boredom, no matter how symptomatic or emblematic it may be, is a literary pitfall; nothing equals nothing and it is hard to make it add up to something. In Ben's case, it leads to some desultory drinking, a little television, and finally his seduction by the wife of his father's partner, Mrs. Robinson. The situation becomes much messier when he meets her daughter, Elaine, falls in love with her, follows her obsessively to Berkeley, overrides all interference (the abusive Mrs. Robinson; the disapproving Mr. Robinson), and finally grabs her, literally, at the altar when she tries to marry someone else..... It is hard to judge Charles Webb's actual talent since almost all of his book is in dialogue, in fractional to minimal sentences many of which reduce to ""No"" and ""I don't know"" and ""What"", an all-purpose evasive word to avoid further interrogation. Next question: does youth speak to youth?

Pub Date: Oct. 21st, 1963
ISBN: 0743456459
Publisher: New American Library