The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie

  • by Muriel Spark
  • Narrated by Miriam Margolyes
  • 4 hrs and 45 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

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.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Excellent story and outstanding reader.

This classic story really comes to life as read by Miriam Margolyes, with her beautiful accent and the way she is able to help create each character in your mind with the voices she gives them. I was sorry when this audiobook was over.
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- Hermione

it's only possible to betray where loyalty is due'


Of Mussolini,
Don't Preach,
To the Teenies
Where You Teach

"it's only possible to betray where loyalty is due"

Sandy, now Sister Helena of the Transfiguration, is the omniscient narrator of the story looking back at her time in the 1930s at a Catholic grade school in Edinburgh, Scotland, time spent as part of the set of six girls who their teacher Miss Brodie called her "creme de la creme." Ms. Sparks used a number of flash-forwards to most effectively and methodically convey the ultimate betrayal of Miss Jean Brodie by one of set, which ruined Miss Brodie's teaching career. Miss Brodie died the year after the end of World War I without knowing which girl did the deed, though the mystery obviously bothered her during the decade prior to her death.

Ms. Brodie was smart, snod, unconventional and a bit daft, holding potentially harmful sway over the set who she taught off and on from their tenth year to their sixteenth, providing lessons on her love life, her travels particularly to Italy, a great deal of art history and on fascism and her smite with Benito Mussolini. Ironically, it wasn't her questionable methods outside the classroom (such as providing a place for one girl then 13 to pose nude for a male artist to paint her, then suggesting the same girl at 16 have an affair with a married teacher as a sort of surrogate to requite Ms. Brodie's love for him) that led to Ms. Brodie's fall, but the pro-fascist views she espoused.

While I found the book had a certain charm and I understand the reasons for its popularity upon its publication in 1961, I think this is among those books whose literary force has been somewhat dulled by the novel being dated.
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- W Perry Hall

Book Details

  • Release Date: 01-12-2012
  • Publisher: Canongate Books