‘The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie’ by Muriel Spark

My rating: 4 stars

Whether they desire it or not, some teachers can be a huge source of inspiration. The title character of The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie by Muriel Spark derived great satisfaction from the influence that she had over her pupils, particularly the group of girls known as the Brodie set. Throughout this novella, Miss Brodie looms large, despite the story almost never being told from her perspective. Such an interesting and problematic character called for a slightly longer book.

A group of girls (Monica, Rose, Eunice, Sandy, Jenny and Mary) at Marcia Blaine School in Edinburgh was known as the Brodie set. Jean Brodie was their teacher when they were at junior school in the 1930s. Although her teaching methods were not, overall, well regarded at the school, she believed herself to be in her prime. She was interested in art and particularly loved painting. But she also had a strong admiration for Mussolini’s troops. The girls were noticeably under her spell, and Miss Brodie didn’t want to lose her influence.

The plot jumps in time. Readers get to succinctly know what the Brodie set were up to when they were around 10, 16 and then as adults. When they were 16 years old, Miss Brodie asked for their help, as there was a plot at school to force her to resign. Before she died, she kept questioning whom amongst her girls had betrayed her. What was behind the betrayal starts getting revealed without details, being only briefly mentioned, and only afterwards it’s further explored. Continue reading

Book Haul – January 2020

My first book haul of 2020 consists mainly of books that I either have been wanting to read for a couple of years or that are the last instalments of certain series. There is no common theme or genre between the five of them. As I plan to read them all in the following months, you won’t have to wait long to know my opinions about them.

 

Within the Sanctuary of Wings by Marie Brennan

The last book in The Memoirs of Lady Trent series focuses on Isabella’s most famous adventure, which is partially set in the tallest peak in the world. It will surely share some similarities with the other books in the series. I’m expecting it to continue to delve into social and scientific problems, while painting an anthropological picture of the world it’s set in.

 

The Awakening by Kate Chopin

The main character in this short book refuses to be subdued by married life. When it was first published in 1899, The Awakening was considered to be sordid and immoral. I’m not expecting to find it so in the 21st century. But I’m eager to discover what shocked people so much back then. Continue reading