Bunnyhugger1's Reviews > The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie

The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie by Muriel Spark
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May 05, 2009

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bookshelves: read-2009, reviews, contemporary-fiction
Read in May, 2009

The 1968 movie, with Dame Maggie Smith's superb performance as Miss Brodie, is one of my all-time favorite films. I'd never felt the need to read the original novel until recently. Maybe my expectations were too high but I was disappointed. I was surprised by the writing style which is repetitive and at times confusing. The characters of the "Brodie Set" seem poorly sketched out. One girl is "known for sex", another has "small piggy eyes", another is "stupid", and so on for all 6 girls - and these descriptions are repeated over and over throughout the novel. Was this a technique? If so, I can't figure out what it accomplished. The story also frequently goes back in forth in time, paragraph to paragraph, which felt messy to me. At times I would see a flash of brilliance, a gem, which took me back to the movie. I gave this 3 stars for these moments, and for the concept (this is not the typical teacher/student mentor movie) which launched an unforgettable movie. There are very few examples of a movie being better than the book - but this is one of them.
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