Monday, March 6, 2017

Recently Read: The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie

Author: Muriel Sparks
Genre: Classic/ Fiction
Publication Date: 1961
Page Count: 128
Rating: 4/5

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Miss Jean Brodie is a woman in her prime. She is a teacher at a girl's school and doesn't quite fit in with the rest of the teaching staff. She is eclectic and unpredictable; she teaches her girls about life, love, and art and butts heads with the headmistress over educational philosophy. Miss Brodie has her set of favorite girls, and the novel follows them and Miss Brodie through the years. 

I really didn't know what to expect from this short novel. It was my first Spark, and I knew almost nothing about the plot. I had heard good things about Spark, and I loved this beautiful Penguin version, so I decided to add it to my February Short Reads TBR and I'm glad I did. I was surprised by how captivated I was by this novel and really enjoyed it. 

Although this novel is very short, it is packed with complexity. Sandy and Miss Brodie become the most developed characters and are very real. Both characters are so flawed and complicated on their own, that they combine to make a point about the complexities of human emotion and motivation. This novel is an interesting comment on how children view adults, and how they can admire them, hate them, love them, and be intimidated by them, all at the same time. It's also an interesting comment on loyalty and trust, as well as the enigma that is romantic entanglement. 

This is a novel I would have had a lot of fun writing a paper about, as it is short but packed full of complex and very-human themes and ideas. I may lose myself in the rabbit hole of academic writings on this novel the next time I find I can't sleep (totally normal to read academic journals when you can't sleep, right?) I'm interested to see if people are writing about this novel still, and if so, what they are saying. 

I'm really interested to pick up more of Spark's work now, and equally interested in the movie adaptation where Maggie Smith plays Miss Jean Brodie! 

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