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Group Reads > July/August: Miss Jean Brodie

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message 1: by Ellen (new)

Ellen Forkin (ellen_forkin) | 350 comments Mod
Our (second) group read for July and August is The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie by Muriel Spark

Read it and share your thoughts below. Please use the spoiler HTML or comment at the top of your post where you are in the book so to not give anything away to those not quite there yet.

Enjoy this Classic book and can’t wait to hear your thoughts...


message 2: by Amy (new)

Amy J | 2 comments Starting the book this weekend - anyone else?


message 3: by Ellen (new)

Ellen Forkin (ellen_forkin) | 350 comments Mod
Amy wrote: "Starting the book this weekend - anyone else?"

Just about to start it tonight :) Enjoy!


message 4: by Tarissa (new)

Tarissa (inthebookcase) | 52 comments I've now started it myself. First time reading.


message 5: by Ellen (last edited Jul 25, 2018 06:41AM) (new)

Ellen Forkin (ellen_forkin) | 350 comments Mod
I finished the book last night - I’m going to be honest, I don’t know what to make of it. I don’t think I’ve read anything quite like it. I won’t say too much just now but...

Did I like it? Yes.
Should I like it? (Shrugs. Wonders if I’m being close-minded. Is it implying what I think it’s implying? Am I missing the point??)

I’ll wait to hear your thoughts!


message 6: by Katrina (last edited Jul 28, 2018 11:16AM) (new)

Katrina | 50 comments Just finished it today. Still holds up on a second reading, although I'm not sure I enjoyed it as much this time around. I can't work out if it's because I'm currently reading Spark's shorts at the moment, or that I already knew the plot, or maybe something else.
(view spoiler)


message 7: by Ellen (new)

Ellen Forkin (ellen_forkin) | 350 comments Mod
Katrina wrote: "Just finished it today. Still holds up on a second reading, although I'm not sure I enjoyed it it as much this time around. I can't work out if it's because I'm currently reading Spark's shorts at ..."

You have summed up my thoughts perfectly!

I loved the style of writing, the psychology of the characters and their relationships, and how the time leaps kept us intrigued and gave us different perspectives. It’s very clever, and the wit and idiosyncrasies make Jean Brodie extremely likable which I think for me cleverly masked the underlying themes of her character. I think this is why I was so shocked, I fell for her charm. I can see why it would be a touch more sinister the second time round. A very clever book, I think it’s aged well.


message 8: by Ellen (new)

Ellen Forkin (ellen_forkin) | 350 comments Mod
Katrina wrote: "Just finished it today. Still holds up on a second reading, although I'm not sure I enjoyed it it as much this time around. I can't work out if it's because I'm currently reading Spark's shorts at ..."

As you say, Sandy is a complex character, especially in regards to her relationship with Miss Brodie.

Spoiler Question:
(view spoiler)


message 9: by Katrina (last edited Jul 28, 2018 12:39PM) (new)

Katrina | 50 comments Spoiler question answer

(view spoiler)


message 10: by Tarissa (new)

Tarissa (inthebookcase) | 52 comments Well, I finished. :) It kept my interest piqued.

Jean Brodie makes such an fascinating character study. Had I been a Brodie girl, I'm sure I'd have fallen for Miss Brodie's charms myself.


message 11: by Ellen (new)

Ellen Forkin (ellen_forkin) | 350 comments Mod
Katrina wrote: "Spoiler question answer

Sandy perhaps sees it as a moral triumph over Brodie's ideals and ultimate rejection of her mentor - but the opposite is true. It's kind of an embrace.

Convent life is qu..."


Very interesting, I’m with you, I think ‘atonement’ may look like the obvious answer but I didn’t get that vibe.


message 12: by Ellen (new)

Ellen Forkin (ellen_forkin) | 350 comments Mod
Tarissa wrote: "Well, I finished. :) It kept my interest piqued.

Jean Brodie makes such an fascinating character study. Had I been a Brodie girl, I'm sure I'd have fallen for Miss Brodie's charms myself."


Me too! She is completely fascinating and appears so confident and correct - I would have been under her spell.


message 13: by Ellen (new)

Ellen Forkin (ellen_forkin) | 350 comments Mod
A bit off topic but...

Did anyone else have any ‘Jean Brodie’ teachers who really influenced them (in good ways, or bad)?

This book somewhat reminds me of a forgotten school-years memory... My posse of school friends ALL loved this cuddly, lovely teacher. I liked her, but didn’t necessarily worship her. (I still feel confused all these years later as to why I didn’t adore her. They made such an issue out of it. I think I felt I had the cuddliest, loveliest Mum in the world, so this teacher was redundant!) However, I myself liked this other teacher Ms Cromarty, who, looking back, was a bit eccentric. My friends, and other pupils, just didn’t seem to ‘get’ her at all but I thought she was FAB. I’m pretty sure she was sarcastic in lessons which was lost on a lot of us (but coming from a sarcastic family, I picked up the tone and exasperated raised eyebrows.) She could easily have been a bit of a Jean Brodie - she was always going off topic, telling us about her home life, and she worshipped Elvis like Brodie worshipped Mussolini. Yes, there was even a poster in class. :) If there could have been a ‘Miss Cromarty Bunch’ I would have joined in a heartbeat. Our friendship was solidified when I drew a picture of Elvis which she adored in a very over-the-top way. She had it framed, and to my embarrassment, would bring it to school each year to show every single new class under her care. A few years after we left her class, she passed away, and my friends were mystified as to why I cried on hearing the news. Many, many years later, my Mum told me that Ms Cromarty suffered the same illness as me and stood up for me against the school. I’m chronically ill, and school was an absolute, catastrophic nightmare, I missed most of it. But Ms Cromarty was a rare spark of twinkly eyes in those dire days... I now realise Ms Cromarty understood my illness and got me when every other teacher didn’t. And I ‘got’ her. Even if Elvis wasn’t really my cup of tea ;)


message 14: by Tarissa (new)

Tarissa (inthebookcase) | 52 comments Ellen wrote: "A bit off topic but...

Did anyone else have any ‘Jean Brodie’ teachers who really influenced them (in good ways, or bad)?

This book somewhat reminds me of a forgotten school-years memory... My..."


Great story, Ellen! I think you definitely have a connection there with Miss Jean Brodie. :)


message 15: by Ellen (new)

Ellen Forkin (ellen_forkin) | 350 comments Mod
A couple of standard book club questions to answer...

Who was your favourite character?

Do you think the book’s topics are still relevant today?


message 16: by Katrina (new)

Katrina | 50 comments Ellen wrote: "A couple of standard book club questions to answer...

Who was your favourite character?

Do you think the book’s topics are still relevant today? "


Not sure I could call her my favourite so much as stand out, but even on a second reading Brodie's personality just takes up the whole book, she's just mesmerizing. It's difficult to even consider another another character outside of her.

The ultimate theme of the book and its branches has become terrifying relevant over the past couple of years. Although perhaps not so much the setting as it did feel quaint at very best but that's just me.


message 17: by Ellen (new)

Ellen Forkin (ellen_forkin) | 350 comments Mod
Katrina wrote: "Ellen wrote: "A couple of standard book club questions to answer...

Who was your favourite character?

Do you think the book’s topics are still relevant today? "

Not sure I could call her my f..."


Agreed, too relevant :(

Brodie is a unique character - mesmerising is the right word.

On the other end of the spectrum, I did have a soft spot for Mary. (If I’ve remembered the right girl?) I wish the author didn’t keep reiterating the scene where Mary is trapped in the burning hotel corridor - at least she was knocked unconscious, poor thing! I can’t help but wonder if nowadays Mary would be classed as having learning difficulties and would perhaps be better understood? A different era, thankfully we’ve moved on.

I thought it was interesting Sandy’s secret conflict over whether to be nice to Mary. She fought her inner sympathy to fit into what she perceived to be Jean Brodie’s world, it’s just a tiny bit of the book, but I thought it might be a turning point for Sandy? Just a thought :)


message 18: by Jack (new)

Jack Deighton | 52 comments I read this book in 2014. My thoughts on it are at https://jackdeighton.co.uk/2014/12/02...


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