The Graduate by Charles Webb
(L.A. Theatre Works Audio Theatre Collections)

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Synopsis

Published in 1963, Charles Webb's The Graduate was a sly and provocative first novel that is often overshadowed by the success of Mike Nichol's sensational 1967 film.

The Graduate is a novel that speaks to its time: a time when young Americans were beginning to question, for perhaps the first time, the materialistic values that the postwar culture had taught them. Its hero is at once worldly and naive, a dichotomy that won't last for very long as Benjamin Braddock, the appealing young man of great promise who seems to have everything going for him, sets out to explore his world.

After returning to his parent's home after graduation, Braddock ponders his future and finds himself in a state of confusion and depression. It seems the only thing that really rallies him is the attention of Mrs. Robinson, the bored attractive wife of his father's law partner, who makes a play for Benjamin who responds in kind. What the affair lacks in passion, it makes up for in intensity.

The affair with Mrs. Robinson continues until Benjamin discovers the Robinsons' beautiful daughter Elaine, with whom he falls promptly in love. Driven to a fit of jealousy, Mrs. Robinson will have none of it, and she tells her daughter of her affair with Benjamin in an attempt to separate the two. Undeterred however, Benjamin pursues Elaine, even though she becomes involved with somebody else. He pursues her all the way to the altar, in fact.

The Graduate takes a hard look at contemporary society and social mores, and while it does so with panache and humor, the underlying message is not lost on the reader. It is a scathing look at how vacuous and materialistic middle-class American life had become in the mid-20th century. The Chicago Sunday Review wrote that The Graduate "moves with the speed and drive of a runaway locomotive."

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Charles Webb seems to have taken the message of his book very seriously and has spent his adult life avoiding the sort of traps that materialism lays for people. Since the success of The Graduate, has shunned the limelight. Both he and his wife have sought to avoid the celebrity and the expectations that success could have brought them. Webb gave away most of the money he made from the novel and reportedly sold the film rights to the book for a mere $20,000.

SERIES DESCRIPTIONS

From classic book to classic film, RosettaBooks has gathered some of most memorable books into film available. The selection is broad ranging and far reaching, with books from classic genre to cult classic to science fiction and horror and a blend of the two creating whole new genres like Richard Matheson's The Shrinking Man. Classic works from Vonnegut, one of the greatest writers of the twentieth century, meet with E.M. Forrester's A Passage to India. Whether the work is centered in the here and now, in the past, or in some distant and almost unimaginable future, each work is lasting and memorable and award-winning.
 

About Charles Webb

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Charles Webb's first novel, The Graduate, was made into the acclaimed film. Six years ago he moved to the UK and wrote New Cardiff.
 
Published January 9, 2014 by RosettaBooks. 220 pages
Genres: Arts & Photography, Literature & Fiction, Romance. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for The Graduate

Publishers Weekly

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“Mrs. Robinson, you’re trying to seduce me.” Those words, uttered by naïve college graduate Benjamin Braddock, haven’t been so compelling since Dustin Hoffman spoke them in the 1967 film adaptation of

Sep 23 2011 | Read Full Review of The Graduate (L.A. Theatre Wo...

Publishers Weekly

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Graduating college provided no answers for Benjamin Braddock; it only furthered his frustration and angst with the world. Upon returning home, his disdain leads him into an affair with Mrs. Robinso

Jan 26 2009 | Read Full Review of The Graduate (L.A. Theatre Wo...

The Guardian

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Coral Beed has moments of real emotion as Elaine, and almost hints at character development, but she too ends the play as sappy as ever.

Feb 23 2001 | Read Full Review of The Graduate (L.A. Theatre Wo...

Publishers Weekly

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“Mrs. Robinson, you’re trying to seduce me.” Those words, uttered by naïve college graduate Benjamin Braddock, haven’t been so compelling since Dustin Hoffman spoke them in the 1967 film adaptation of Webb’s novel.

Sep 26 2011 | Read Full Review of The Graduate (L.A. Theatre Wo...

Entertainment Weekly

Look, the original was hardly subtle — it was a better pop event than a movie — but it did have a great, remorseless final shot: runaways Benjamin and Elaine on that city bus, slowly wondering what the hell they've done.

Apr 12 2002 | Read Full Review of The Graduate (L.A. Theatre Wo...

Los Angeles Times

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Home School A Novel Charles Webb Thomas Dunne Books/St. Martin's Press: 240 pp., $22.95

Jan 10 2008 | Read Full Review of The Graduate (L.A. Theatre Wo...

The Young Folks

It is that idea, the idea of throwing caution to the wind that makes this film so utterly captivating because while as an audience we understand Ben, it’s also impossible to escape the truth of the inevitable fall.

Jan 14 2013 | Read Full Review of The Graduate (L.A. Theatre Wo...

Christianity Today

And maybe, just maybe, Sarah is the result of the tryst documented in The Graduate—and that's the reason she never completely fit in with ...

Dec 25 2005 | Read Full Review of The Graduate (L.A. Theatre Wo...

Talkin' Broadway

(The scene originally took place in her empty house, not his full one.) The scene, like so many to follow, is a meaningless mish-mash of elements, a haphazard combination of scenes from the book and movie that is a poor interpretation of events and makes no dramatic sense.

Apr 04 2002 | Read Full Review of The Graduate (L.A. Theatre Wo...

Reader Rating for The Graduate
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