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The Pride of Miss Jean Brodie,
This review is from: The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie (Penguin Essentials) (Paperback)
This is an enjoyable short read. I remember the famous movie with Dame Maggie Smith but am pleased to have finally got round to reading the book, which has a number of fundamental differences with the film version.
The most interesting thing I found about the book is the style of narrative. The story of Miss Brodie's "Prime" is told in retrospect. The events occur in the 1930s while the girls whose lives are dominated by Miss Brodie are looking back at these days from a vantage point 20 years on when they have marriages and careers. The plot's ending is frequently telegraphed and so no suspense is really built up. The interest is in the how and why events unfurled rather than the actual story itself.
The book is set in Edinburgh. I have always enjoyed my visits to that city and have always felt that I am going back in time when I visit it and I always feel that in many ways I am visiting a foreign country. The atmosphere and landscape of the city are beautifully evoked.
Miss Jean Brodie is a teacher in the junior department at a private girls day school in Edinburgh. Miss Brodie is colourful, freethinking and unconventional, things that make her a figure of great suspicion among the straight-laced female teachers of the school but a figure of fascination for the two male teachers. Among her students she takes especial interest in six girls who enjoy her confidences. They are the Brodie set who don't entirely fit into the general run of school whom she refers to as the "Creme de la creme." Although she thinks she has a kind of Jesuitical hold over their development over the years, it is clear that she does not and one of them becomes the source of her downfall. I won't spoil it for anyone by telling anyone what it was but it proved a fascinating read.
I enjoyed the book very much and it provided a lovely breezy read