Tuesday, 11 January 2011

World Book Night challenge 4/25

The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie - Muriel Spark

It has been a week since I finished reading this and I am still not sure what I thought of it. I suppose that as I am still thinking about it then there was something special about it but I really can’t put my finger on exactly what it is.

Once more I found this a book where I didn’t care for any of the characters and a book where very little happens. A group of school children are influenced by their teacher, form a clique, become precocious and ultimately grow up. One of them betrays their mentor.

This simultaneously sums up the book entirely and gives nothing at all away. Like I said an odd book.

I quite liked the writing style, the plot flicks back and forth in time in a way that is easy to read but makes you concentrate hard on the book at the same time.

I also liked the Homeric way that every time a character is mentioned the same description is attached to them, for me this created a lovely rhythm to the reading.

So like the morals of the characters I remain ambiguous about this book. I’m glad I read it but I won’t be seeking out more by this author, nor rushing to watch the film adaptation.


  1. I read this a few years ago, having heard a lot about it. I was disappointed and haven't tried any Spark since. I do tend to find this with celebrated books. The Great Gatsby left me cold and Wuthering Heights infuriated me. I'm not sure if this is just me, but now I'm a little afraid to try iconic books in case my reaction is inadequate.

  2. I'm glad that I'm not the only one to feel disappointed by this one. I'm not sure that I have a problem with celebrated books in general but I do know that I am quite scared of classic books. I'm not too worried that my reaction will be inadequate though, more that I am not clever enough to understand them.
    This is something I've been thinking about a lot lately and plan to blog about soon.