Sunday, November 26, 2006

Notes on a Scandal by Zoë Heller

Author: Zoë Heller
ISBN # 0670914061
Publisher: Viking
First Published: 2003
244 pages
Rating: 5/10

The Blurb:
When the new teacher first arrives, Barbara immediately senses that this woman will be different from the rest of her staff-room colleagues. But Barbara is not the only one to feel that
Sheba is special, and before too long Sheba is involved in an illicit affair with a pupil. Barbara finds the relationship abhorrent, of course, but she is the only adult in whom Sheba can properly confide. So when the liaison is found out and Sheba's life falls apart, Barbara is there...

The Review:
According to the note on the front cover, Notes on a Scandal was short-listed for the Man Booker Prize in 2003, however, I really can’t see why.

When the basis of the plot is an middle-aged female teacher becoming embroiled in a relationship with one of the 15-year-old boys in her class, you expect something a bit risqué, perhaps a little tantalising, somehow sensationalist in its approach; but this is nothing of the kind. In fact, the one work I could really use to describe it all is “dull”.

There were no remotely likeable characters to be seen – Sheba was naïve, selfish and incredibly stupid; Barbara was just plain odious – a creepy, immature, stalker-type hanger-on who insinuates herself into the lives of those she chooses as her “friends” to the exclusion of all others in order to make herself feel important. This could have been in interesting foray into obsession, but it was just too boring – in fact, I barely made it to the end. It had so much promise but utterly failed to deliver.

To be perfectly honest, this was my second attempt at this book and I wouldn’t have bothered revisiting it at all if it hadn’t been chosen as this month’s reading circle for discussion. I found it pretty pointless and a real chore to plough through. There is no way I will ever read any of Heller’s other work, even if it gets picked for a reading circle – I’ll just pass thanks.


Post a Comment

<< Home