The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie – Muriel Spark


I bought this book years ago while on holiday in Sydney. I was quite keen to read it again when it was suggested at book club. Plus it’s the perfect read in the lead up to the busy Christmas season (short).

Here is the stuff from the back …

At the staid Marcia Blaine School for Girls, in Edinburgh, Scotland, teacher extraordinaire Miss Jean Brodie is unmistakably, and outspokenly, in her prime. She is passionate in the application of her unorthodox teaching methods, in her attraction to the married art master, Teddy Lloyd, in her affair with the bachelor music master, Gordon Lowther, and—most important—in her dedication to “her girls,” the students she selects to be her crème de la crème. Fanatically devoted, each member of the Brodie set—Eunice, Jenny, Mary, Monica, Rose, and Sandy—is “famous for something,” and Miss Brodie strives to bring out the best in each one. Determined to instill in them independence, passion, and ambition, Miss Brodie advises her girls, “Safety does not come first. Goodness, Truth, and Beauty come first. Follow me.”

And they do. But one of them will betray her.

I enjoyed reading this – I liked the descriptive asides about the girls … ‘Rose Stanley was famous for sex’ and ‘Eunice Gardiner […] famous for her spritely gymnastics and glorious swimming’.

It did make me think of all of the women who would have been left spinsters after World War 1 – what would they have done with themselves? They would still have been limited to ‘feminine professions’ like teaching and nursing.

I liked the writing style it was economical and yet managed to say a lot. I thought Miss Brodie was a bit sad – she had no real friends (adults that is) and she seemed to try to control the girls.

Here are some other reviews …

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