HOME SCHOOL by Charles Webb


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A long-delayed—though not necessarily eagerly anticipated—sequel to The Graduate.

Benjamin and Elaine Braddock are now parents, involved in the first throes of the home-schooling movement in the mid-’70s, when it was far more outré than it is now. Although their sons Jason and Matt have been responding well to the real-world education provided by their folks, the local school authorities (especially Mr. Claymore, a lecherous principal) are eager to break these pedagogical bonds. Fortuitously, at this moment Elaine’s mother, the archetypal and legendary Mrs. Robinson, makes the 3,000 mile journey from California to New York (the Braddocks had wisely put some distance between themselves and Mrs. R) and unwittingly gives Benjamin and Elaine some fodder for blackmailing Claymore. (Let’s just say the principal loses interest in asserting his academic authority.) Mrs. Robinson, now called “Nan” to avoid the egregious “Granny Robinson,” wants to help with the boys’ home schooling by having her grandchildren watch General Hospital so they can learn what it means to be a doctor. The novel then shifts into a different mode, when Garth and Goya—unrepentant Ivy League–educated hippies who are home-schooling their own children—also come for a visit. Their son Aaron is strapping but strange, both physique and weirdness attributable to his having breast-fed till the age of nine. (His seven-year-old sister Nefertiti still kindly helps herself.) The convergence of all these visitors creates understandable tension between Benjamin and Elaine. When Elaine takes everyone out for the evening, leaving Benjamin and his mother-in-law home alone, Mrs. Robinson daringly tries to recapture old times.

A bit of fluff sure to satisfy those clamoring for a Graduate sequel.

Pub Date: Jan. 1st, 2008
ISBN: 978-0-312-37630-7
Page count: 240pp
Publisher: Dunne/St. Martin's
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1st, 2007