I have to admit that for the first 20-30 pages of the book, my mind was halfway occupied with the question of whether or not I'd auditioned for a production of the play of this book at some point, and when I remembered my struggles with the Scottish accent, moved on to what role I'd been auditioning for.
I didn't get a part, though.
Prime of Miss Jean Brodie is a tantalizing glimpse of human dynamics at
work, at group dynamics, about the impact of a strong figure in early
childhood, and, specifically, the impact of spinsterhood on single women
in early 20th century Scotland.
Miss Brodie is a slightly
maddening creature, pro-Fascist, controlling, and self-obsessed, but yet
enriching and enlivening for the students she selects as her set. Over
time, the set grows and changes, some get away, some are guided by her,
one will betray her.
One of the best parts of the book for me
was the way that Spark would give us little pieces of information about
the future of each character while we were still in the midst of this
emotional morass, allowing to see how what happened affected or didn't
affect the eventual choices of each character.
A very short
book, this was well worth the read. It eschews easy answers, and raises
questions about human nature that are not easily answered.