Book Review: The Graduate by Charles Webb

The Graduate is a novel by Charles Webb.

This was an interesting purchase for me. When I was a first-year in university, I took a Film Studies course. In it, we watched the scene in the movie The Graduate in which the song “The Sound of Silence” plays for some educational purpose about a type of shot or something. I loved the scene, and wanted to watch the movie.

Then I found out it was based on a book.

There went all thoughts of seeing the movie until I’d read the book. Years passed. Then I discovered Book Outlet, and as I was scrolling through looking for great deals one day, I saw The Graduate.

Obviously, since I’m writing this blog post, I bought it. The rest is history.

Here’s the cover of The Graduate:


Here is the synopsis of The Graduate from Amazon:

“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 wife of his father’s business partner. It’s only when beautiful coed Elaine Robinson comes home to visit her parents that Benjamin, now smitten, thinks he might have found some kind of direction in his life. Unfortunately for Benjamin, Mrs. Robinson plays the role of protective mother as well as she does the one of mistress. A wondrously fierce and absurd battle of wills ensues, with love and idealism triumphing over the forces of corruption and conformity.”

Finally, here’s my review of The Graduate!

I’m going to be up front: I did not like this book.

Although the young-adult angst the main character experiences upon completing his undergraduate degree seems realistic, he is a wholly unlikable character. As are most of the other characters in the story.

Benjamin’s response to his existential crisis seems natural as well. But it doesn’t make it any more enjoyable to read, and I can’t say that the point of reading this novel would be to learn something. Normally, I can take a lot of very interesting life lessons or things to ponder from stories I dislike. Not so from The Graduate. All I took away was frustration at the characters and at the fact that I spent a few hours reading it.

However, it did have some redeeming qualities:

The dialogue in this book was very skillful. It felt true to the characters, and really illustrated the awkwardness in the relationships between the characters. It felt awkward to read it, which I imagine was the point.

Overall, 2/5 stars.

This was a strange, largely unenjoyable read that I wouldn’t recommend. I think that’s a first.

Happy? Reading?

– Paperback Patronus

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