Monday, October 18, 2010

THE GRADUATE by Charles Webb

The last few books I've read (or tried to read) have dragged on for months, so yesterday I picked something off the shelf on a whim and dived in. I finished The Graduate this morning, not just because it's dialogue-heavy and bare of description, but also because the characters act without a show of reasoning. When Ben Braddock and, later, Elaine Robinson are asked to explain themselves, they can't. I had to read and see what they did, then speculate why they did it.

This was a refreshing change from the bulk of books that delve into characters' thoughts. I appreciate that style, but it's good to remember I don't need characters' actions explained. Not employing the usual reflection, Webb allows readers to make what they will of what takes place—much the way a play doesn't lean heavily on stage direction, allowing a director and actors' interpretation.

The one drawback was, in lieu of detailed descriptions, my mind filled in Dustin Hoffman, William Daniels, Anne Bancroft, etc. in their movie roles. I wanted to see the characters as Webb saw them before the movie was made.


pattinase (abbott) said...

How about if I include this in Forgotten Books this week as a link,.

Gerald So said...

That would be fine, Patti. Glad to be part of Forgotten Book Friday again.

pattinase (abbott) said...

When they were making the movie, they realized how little description and narrative there was in the book and had to fill it in themselves. Thus how much Hoffman and Bancroft seem like these characters.