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Publisher's Summary

Famous novel made into a cult film, and one of only 25 books chosen for the first ever World BookNight in 2011. A liberated young schoolteacher at an Edinburgh girls' school during the 1930's instructs her girls on the ways of life. Ignoring the more mundane subjects, she teaches them of love, politics and art, with some shocking consequences.
"You girls are my vocation... I am dedicated to you in my prime." So says Miss Jean Brodie, a teacher unlike any other. She is proud and cultured. A romantic, with progressive, sometimes shocking ideas and aspirations for the girls in her charge. When she decides to transform a select group of pupils into the 'crème de la crème' at the Marcia Blaine School they become the Brodie set. In exchange for their undivided loyalty the girls earn a special place of honour and privilege within the school. Yet they are also introduced to a startling new world of adult games and intrigues, and as boundaries are crossed so the difficulties start to unfold.
©1961 Copyright Administration Ltd (P)2011 Canongate Books
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By Darwin8u on 09-12-17

Primed for Classics

"I shall remain at this education factory where my duty lies. There needs must be a leaven in the lump. Give me a girl at an impressionable age and she is mine for life. The gang who oppose me shall not succeed."
- Muriel Spark, The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie.

Published in 1961 and set in a Scottish girl's school in the pre-World War II period (1930s) when Fascism was favorable (among those in their Prime) and on the rise, 'The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie' tells the story of an unconventional teacher and her influence on a group or six girls (more probably, but the story focuses on six). It isn't original to say this, but it does read a bit like a female version of Dead Poet's Society, or perhaps A Separate Peace, but no not quite Lord of the Flies. Emotionally, the book resonates like Madame Bovary. Perhaps, one of the reasons the book vibrated so strongly with me is one of the pupils of Miss Brodie in her Prime reminds me of how I imagine my wife was in her tweens (Sandy).

A couple things sold me on this book. I loved its style and prose, and was enraptured by Miss Brodie with her unconventional, romantic, and desperate need to matter, to influence, to be something. As fallible as she is, and as amoral as methods (both in love and politics) become, there is something VERY human about her. The other character I loved was Sandy. Influenced by Miss Brodie, in her Prime, but just not in the way Miss Brodie intended, Sandy's romantic view of life mirrors in some ways Miss Brodie. But I loved the 10-year old Sandy with her wild fantasies about Alan Breck (see Kidnapped) or Mr. Rochester (see Jane EyreJane Eyre). Later her fantasy turns its full attention on Miss Brodie and her lovers. It is perfect.

Anyway, I read this because my natural man tends to gravitate more towards books written by men (just the statistics of classical books would do this), so when I think about it, I try and read a book I would normally pass over. I'm glad I found the radical Miss Jean Brodie while I was in my prime.

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15 of 17 people found this review helpful


By Diane on 03-29-16

SUPERB

A wonderfully written, intellectually complex, and insightful book. 'The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie' is a cautionary tale about what it is to teach and what it is to learn. Unfortunately for those who would teach, our best pupils may understand and apply what we teach more than we realize or welcome.

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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By Patricia on 10-21-14

So much more to the story than I remembered

I read this book at least 40 years ago when I was a schoolgirl myself. It is interesting to revisit this book as there is so much more to it than I gleaned from it as a teenager. I would say it is worth a second or even third listen or read. Miriam Margolyes narrated this book brilliantly.

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4 of 4 people found this review helpful


By gunnel on 04-28-14

Not Jean Brodie at all

How did the narrator detract from the book?

This is an interesting book about a charismatic teacher who dominates and manipulates the girls who make up her "set". In the book, Miss Brodie is described as a contralto with a dark Roman face. She inspires passion in both her pupils and her male colleagues and they are almost obsessed by her. Unfortunately, the narrator makes her sound like a silly and ridiculous old lady with a falsetto voice. It's difficult to believe that anybody could be taken in by her.

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4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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By Amazon Customer on 08-03-15

Wonderfully sharp and witty

What a great story superbly read! Loved the caustic wit and unexpected twists of the plot

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By Angela on 04-04-15

fantastic reading thank you

I loved the tv series and I love the book...thank you I look forward to more reading the classics

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