Wednesday, 28 October 2009

The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie

Title: The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie

Author: Muriel Spark

Number of pages: 128

Started: 27 October 2009

Finished: 28 October 2009

Opening words:

The boys, as they talked to the girls from Marcia Blaine School, stood on the far side of their bicycles holding the handlebars, which established a protective fence of bicycle between the sexes, and the impression that at any moment the boys were likely to be away.

The girls could not take off their panama hats because this was not far from the school gates and hatlessness was an offence. Certain departures from the proper set of the hat on the head were overlooked in the case of fourth-form girls and upwards so long as nobody wore their hat at an angle. But there were other subtle variants from the ordinary rule of wearing the brim turned up at the back and down at the front. The five girls, standing very close to each other because of the boys, wore their hats each with a definite difference.

Plot summary:

She was a schoolmistress with a difference. Proud, cultured, romantic, her ideas were progressive, even shocking. And when she decided to transform a group of young girls under her tutelage into the "creme de la creme" of Marcia Blaine school, no one could have predicted the outcome.

What I thought:

This was a good read. I have read one Muriel Spark before, which I think I was a bit ambivalent about, and I liked this one a lot more. It was a tale of a teacher’s attempt to shape the lives of some of her pupils – and the consequences of doing so. The book made it clear early on that it would not end well, and it was a carefully woven story that fed you bit by bit the downfall that was to come. An enjoyable, if somewhat spiteful read and worth a look.


Sarah said...

This was my second Muriel Spark and I enjoyed it more than the first, also. But I do feel a bit uneasy reading her work. I always get the feeling that she is much cleverer than me, and she knows it!

Beautiful edition, I love that cover.

Anonymous said...

I haven't read anything by Muriel Spark, although now, I feel like I must.

That's the third author you've got me interested in, in less than a month!!!!

Random Reflections said...

Sarah - I found this book easier to read and understand than the previous one I read. I was surprised to learn that she was born in 1950, as I had assumed she had lived during the time in which her books were set. I guess that does indicate a level of cleverness to be able to pull it off quite convincingly.

I really liked the cover to the book too - there was a scene in the book that I thought it depicted.

anothercookiecrumbles - I think this is quite a good one to give a go as a starter.

I am sorry for extending your every going TBR list! You have also given me several ideas as well though, so perhaps we are even...