by Muriel Spark
Title: The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie
Author: Muriel Sparks
Publishd By: Penguin Essentials
Genre: Adult Fiction, 20th Century Classic
Found: Newpaper giveaways – Mother-In-Law
‘Give me a girl at an impressionable age, and she is mine for life…’
Passionate, free-thinking and unconventional, Miss Brodie is a teacher who exerts a powerful influence over her group of ‘special girls’ at Marcia Blaine School. They are the Brodie set, the crème de la crème, each famous for something – Monica for mathematics, Eunice for swimming, Rose for sex – who are initiated into a world of adult games and extracurricular activities they will never forget. But the price they pay is their undivided loyalty …
The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie is a brilliantly comic novel featuring one of the most unforgettable characters in all literature.
Currently, I’m about half way through. An odd place to be in a 128 page book. I thought I would have finished this in one sitting considering its length but for some reason it’s taking me forever to get through.
I don’t read much outside of my YA comfort zone but I’m trying to complete the Popsugar Challenge for 2016 and one of the challenges is to read a 20th Century Classic and I thought The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie fits quite nicely into this criteria. It was written in 1961 and is set in the 1930s. It’s been a stage show and a film starring Maggie Smith and the copy I have is a Penguin Essential reprint so I think that gives it enough endorsement to be classed as a classic but, when something has a classic status, it kind of comes with huge expectations. I expect it to be engrossing, well written and a thoroughly impressive read, and yet I’m not feeling The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie at all!
I’ve been introduced to Miss Jean Brodie, who I’ve been informed is in the Prime of her life (like every 3rd page) and her Brodie Set, which consists of 5 girls, all of which are very different but, all mesmerized by Miss Jean Brodie. They enjoy the attention she bestows on them and they go for tea, to the pictures and special gathering with her. She shares with them her views on the world. Which she seems to feel are better than the regular teachings at school. She says she is trying to expand their horizons but really it feels more like she’s trying to create mini clones of herself. So far, my primary feeling is one of uneasy due to Miss Brodie sharing personal information with the girls. I don’t think this is very appropriate for a teacher and get the impression that it may get out of hand or really inappropriate very soon.
The whole story jumps backwards and forwards in time and is always told from the view point of the girls. It gives Miss Brodie a rather stand-offish feel and allows us to see how certain girls are more obsessed with Miss Brodie than others. We are aware from the very beginning that someone will betray Miss Brodie and get her fired but its all a mystery. It will be interesting to see who it is and why…