“Did you read The Graduate this week?”
“Yes, I wasn’t too sure about it though.”
“I wasn’t too sure about it.”
“About The Graduate”.
At little under 200 pages, The Graduate wasn’t exactly set to be the most challenging book ever. Nonetheless (check me out using big words), I was looking forward to finally reading Charles Webb’s cult classic. Mostly this was because I wanted to watch the film, and, because I’m some sort of snob/moron hybrid, I’ve made a deal with myself that I will always read a book before I see the film version. I’m nearly twenty years late on seeing Fight Club yet.
WELL, dear chums, I needn’t have bothered. There are very few books that I’ve put down never to pick up again, and this was nearly one of them – but Mamma didn’t raise no quitter.
Where have you gone, Mrs Robinson?
I obviously knew the premise, mainly because I’ve listened to a lot of Simon & Garfunkel in my time and, you know, the film is a classic. So, my expectations might have been what let me down here as opposed to Webb’s writing, but I don’t want the burden of blame on my shoulders so I’m still sticking it to ol’ Charlie.
The lack of Mrs Robinson in this book was severely disappointing. For a novel that’s hyped up to be about a boy, who recently graduated from college, who embarks in a controversial relationship with an older woman, Mrs Robinson – it doesn’t have that much scandal between the pages.
The relationships with the women in our protagonist, Benjamin’s life seem to exist for the sole purpose of his character development, as he morphs from Holden-esque layabout to spontaneous (albeit stalkerish), love-crazed fool. As a rampant feminist it was tiring to read, but I guess that was the point of the book as told pretty much from Benjamin’s perspective. Story wise, it’s a no from me but for some reason I couldn’t seem to stop reading. Maybe I’m persistent, maybe I was bored, who knows?
Koo koo ca choo, Mrs Robinson.
People who interrupt others when talking, being told what to do and cauliflower: all things that annoy the shit out of me. Recently added to that ever-growing list was the way in which this book was written. With pages upon pages of mind-numbing dialogue (I’m not really selling this book, am I?), it was no surprise it took me less than 24 hours, with working full time and needing at least 1124 hours of sleep per night. See opening paragraph.
Call me old fashioned, but I like my books to have substance, and with the characters in this one not even being able to hold a conversation, it became increasingly difficult to relate with The Graduate.
Overall, I’d give it 2.5 stars out of 5 – not the worst book I’ve ever read but certainly not the best.
Are you trying to seduce me, Mrs Robinson?
The same night that I finished the book, I was finally able to watch the film.
You know when you’ve needed to pee for absolutely ages, and you finally go after hours of testing just how well your pelvic floor can hold up? And you feel like you could have a nap afterwards it’s that relaxing? That’s what watching the movie was like.
Now, I’m quite the fan of ‘classic’ movies, Psycho (whose book review is next), Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, Carrie etc – so I always assumed I’d love the film. However, because the book version of The Graduate left me so underwhelmed, I was almost dreading watching the film.
Mike Nicholls, you did good gurl.
Obviously we love her soundtrack, and Dustin Hoffman is awarded major bae points, but the best part was that there was way more meat on the bones of the film than in the book. If the book was a skeleton, the movie was the organs, muscle, skin and flawless cat-eye eyeliner.
Mrs. Robinson, if you don’t mind my saying so, this conversation is getting a little strange.
I’m really rubbish at reviewing anything, especially films, but I really really really liked The Graduate. It was a perfect mix of portrayal of late sixties dissent in the middle class youth (ey up), and the coming-of-age narrative that makes this film so popular. Plus, there was actually a story to it! The female characters were still only an accessory to Benjamin’s own character development, but it was understandably more a part of the narrative in the movie.
Book Benjamin was an arsehole, film Benjamin was still an arsehole, but we found ourselves rooting for this misunderstood youth. The best part about it, is that the cinematic version (I ran out of ways to say film, soz) doesn’t take itself too seriously. Ben’s obsession with Elaine isn’t too creepy, and that final, famous bus scene essentially gives us a sequel without needing to say a word.
So, here’s to you, Mrs. Robinson.
See ya x
PS – I AM on goodreads, but I don’t know how the eff to use it. There’s a link on my social bar so feel free to add me or follow me or whatever it is you do.