The Prime Of Miss Jean Brodie

The Prime Of Miss Jean Brodie 
Author: Muriel Spark 
Release Date: 1961
Penguin Classics 

The introduction in the edition of The Prime Of Miss Jean Brodie that I own is not a good way to break you into the story. Full of spoilers, pretentious structure and sickly praising with the book being placed on the highest cloud in heaven, I was ready to shut and misplace. There the book would lie somewhere, maybe under my bed, never to be read. The introduction irritated me that much, and I must learn not to be so irritable. I started on the actual story however and now I am a follower of Miss Jean Brodie. Introductions from other people be damned.

The Prime Of Miss Jean Brodie tells the tale of a group of girls who are taught by a strong-willed teacher who does things her way. We go back and forth through time as we unravel how the unusual Jean Brodie was betrayed, along with the fates of the girls. We know how it ends from the beginning, but not how things turn this way, which is what the book slowly reveals.

Each character, no matter how briefly mentioned, is created with a strong lasting impression. How I longed to see the story stray away from the true main protagonist, Sandy, and go off following the delinquent Joyce. I followed the carefully set up affair tale to the end, but I was more interested in other matters. Testament to the characters maybe, but the back and forth of the two teachers Miss Jean Brodie shows interest in takes up far too much space. But then it doesn’t fall into humongous tangents, keeping a focussed tale of growing up and a artful teacher.

Miss Jean Brodie was an enjoyable ride, easy to follow and funny. It made me long to be in my own set under a teacher in their prime. Though school has long past me. I don’t think it would go down well if I tried to become part of a school set. Which is a shame, as only childhood brings such a tight knit group, before you all go your own way once you’ve grown. Such is life, so I carry on pretending as Sandy once did with her fictional friends.


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