After hearing lots of positive things about The Graduate (the movie with Dustin Hoffman), I read the book (by Charles Webb). It’s only 191 pages, so very easy to read in a day. It’s also mostly dialogue, so it was tailor-made for the big screen or a theater.
Weirdly enough, I found myself sympathizing with Ben Braddock’s existential plight. His mental crisis reminded me of when I was trying to find a job after graduation and wondering what good a piece of paper (i.e., diploma) would be anyway when the only place I could get employed was at a fast food restaurant. What irritated me was how he considered himself a lost cause and didn’t even try to do anything right. In the hands of a different author, a character like this would never be sympathetic or even decent because he lacked autonomy. Ben more or less seemed like he was being pulled along by the other characters throughout the story. By the time he finally began to take action, it was absolutely the wrong kind of action.
I know the book was supposed to be a comedy, but I didn’t really find it that funny. After I got over sympathizing with Ben, I wanted to slap him in the face, which his father did for me near the end of the book. It seemed like the only reasons Ben wanted to marry Elaine were to spite Mrs. Robinson and to bring some excitement into his life, which he obviously perceived as hopeless.
Did you see or read The Graduate? What did you think?