(This is about Charles Webb’s book Home School, the sequel to The Graduate that I was really excited about in an earlier post.)
Well, I finally bought my copy of Home School and read it….in one day. I haven’t read the book of The Graduate, I’ve just seen the film, so I don’t know how the writing/quality compares. The basic story of Home School isn’t quite as fun or interesting as The Graduate. Maybe it’s the more “domestic” nature of the book, or the fact that the main characters are no longer the young, confused people they once were. It does have the trademark dry humour of frustrated dialogue and misunderstandings that made up much of The Graduate‘s appeal, though. Here’s one of my favorite exchanges out of the film version of The Graduate –
Ben’s father: I don’t know, son, this idea sounds pretty half-baked.
Ben: (deadpan) Oh no, it’s completely baked.
And we can’t forget Ben’s endless back-and-forths with Mrs. Robinson, which I won’t spoil for you here. You can watch the (in)famous scene in question, though:
Ben: What if Mr. Robinson walked in right now?
Mrs. Robinson: What if he did?
*Warning: the rest of the post contains massive spoilers for The Graduate. Continue reading at your own risk.**
The story? Ben and Elaine are now happily married with two sons, living in New York with a very cooperative system (they don’t keep secrets and they all discuss everything the family does). Elaine and Ben homeschool the kids so as not to crush their natural thirst for knowledge and love of education. However, the decision is not going over well with the local school board, run by an annoying principal type. What to do? They can go live with an annoying new age hippie-like couple in Vermont who also home-school their kids…..or resort to something more underhanded….that involves Elaine’s estranged mother…..yep, that’s right, Mrs. Robinson herself. That’s all I’m going to say.
Like I said before, though the book has a lot of great dialogue, its plot just isn’t as enthralling. The sometimes-aggravating frustration is even more pronounced here, and there’s not much seduction to speak of (well, what IS there doesn’t make up the focus of the book). I can’t really like Ben and Elaine as this married couple for some reason
Well, it was an entertaining read, and I’d recommend it for fans of the original’s writing, but don’t expect something brilliant. But it has been 40 years…..