cover image Congratulations! Now What?: A Book for Graduates

Congratulations! Now What?: A Book for Graduates

Bill Cosby. Hyperion, $23.95 (144pp) ISBN 978-0-7868-6572-7

Cosby (Time Flies, etc.) is a frequent college commencement speaker. This slim yet padded book aims to reach those graduates and their families who haven't gotten an in-person visit. For someone who has a doctorate degree, however, Cosby exhibits a relentlessly dismissive view of higher education, offering a series of riffs, asides and dialogues about the futility of college and about graduates' incapacity to face the real world. Many of the jokes are plain dumb: ""For these four years, you've been asking the Big Questions: Why doesn't this campus have HBO?"" Then there are the comedian's projection of worthless future college courses: ""An Introduction to Crazy Eights"" or ""Communications 101: Use of the Telephone."" Sometimes Cosby's advice is helpful, as when he describes how urban studies classes don't teach about how much a landlord requires from a new renter (""security deposit, a credit check, a Sam's Club card, a urine sample... ""). And there are a few inspired lines, as in how a student can work his way through college, ""but only if he has the Viagra concession in the faculty lounge."" Cosby has done better, in more personal books like Fatherhood. Still, the inevitable audio version of this book may be charming. Literary Guild and Doubleday Book Club selection. (May)