Tuesday, May 3, 2011

50 Books in a Year: Book #20 The Graduate

"...and, here's to you Mrs. Robinson, Jesus loves you more than you will know...oh, oh, oh..."
~Simon and Garfunkel
"Mrs. Robinson, are you trying to seduce me?"
~The Graduate

          A couple of Saturdays ago, I found out that my husband had never seen The Graduate...never!
          He downloaded it on Netflix and I watched him watching it, thinking of the first time I saw the movie.
          I was thirteen and used to babysit for this lady, who, at 23, seemed wayyyyy older and wiser than I. One night, as she was leaving, she flicked on the TV, channeled the remote for HBO and said, "The Graduate is coming on in about an hour. If you haven't seen it, you definitely should. There is this scene with a stripper and some tassles, WOW!" Being the curious girl I was, I fed her daughter dinner, got her ready for and put her to bed and called my friend over (seriously The Graduate isn't a movie you should watch alone!). It was easy for me to understand why this movie became a classic, why Dustin Hoffman is considered one of the greatest actors that has ever lived, why Simon & Garfunkel are pure genius and why Mrs. Robinson is the ULTIMATE cougar. However, watching it again as a grown-up (seriously, are there any thirteen-year olds who "get" The Graduate?), I understood so much more than the tassle scene. Did you know The Graduate is about love and obsession?
          Most importantly, my thirteen-year old self had no idea about the true emotions Benjamin Braddock was feeling. I did not know what it was like to truly have your life before you. Your life after college is the first time that you can do whatever you want, you can go to grad school, take a job in your major, join the Peace Corp, do nothing...and, man oh man that's frightening and paralyzing and meaningless and overwhelming. No wonder Benjamin allowed himself to be entrapped.
          Anyway, so I thought all of this while watching the movie and realized that I'd never read the book, I'd bought the book used several years ago, but never read it. I got it out and began reading and didn't stop until I was finished. It is that good.

PS. I read this book last week in one day, when I didn't want to read in of the other books on my list!


  1. That was exactly my experience with this film! As a teenager, I thought it was interesting and risque but it wasn't until I saw it again fairly recently that I understood it as a whole, finding I had some sympathy for the parents too. (Not that I'm a cougar, but you know what I mean!) I also understood the final scene in the bus, when before I hadn't a clue beyond the obvious.

    The story of Charles Webb and the book - the way he always felt short-changed after the film deal - is fascinating too, if bitter.

  2. Deborah,
    I agree there is sympathy for the parents in a way that I didn't think about at 13. It's hard for parents to communicate with teenagers, especially sullen ones!
    The final scene on the bus is magical and weighty. I've ordered the 2nd book (Home School) to see what happens, I hope that I'm not disappointed! :)
    I've read a little about Charles Webb and it seems that he's a deeply misunderstood reclusive, ex-pat who may be more like Benjamin Braddock than I initially thought. What do you think?

  3. I've not seen it or read it ... your review has made me think that I should!

  4. Oh do read it, Tiny Library, I'd like to know what you think of it!

  5. Eric hasn't seen the Graduate either! How is this possible??

  6. Ashley, I know, what the heck?! :P Chris is a movie nut, too, and missed it. I feel like I've failed somehow! :D



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