Friday, August 31, 2007

The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie by Muriel Spark

Title: The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie
Author: Muriel Spark

Publisher: Penguin

First Published: 1961

128 pages

Format: Paperback

Rating: 3/10

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 créme de la créme of Marcia Blaine school, no one could have predicted the outcome.

It’s seldom that I am quite as disappointed by a book as I was by The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie. I found the characters to be obnoxious (yes, all of them!) and found absolutely nothing to like in any of them. The stereotyping, both of Miss Jean Brodie and “her girls” was grotesquely cartoon-like and the plot entirely predictable – partially because all the major plot points are revealed up-front and the entire story is just one long-winded and stuffy study of the finer details.

Even if everything hadn’t been revealed at the start, I still would have found this a tedious story of air-headed, easily-led, gullible young girls, following blindly wherever their teacher leads. As for their teacher – she’s exactly the sort of person I wouldn’t want teaching any child of mine and she is the only person, I think, who is surprised that she is betrayed.

If it had been any longer, I wouldn’t have bothered finishing it.


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