Afterthoughts: The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie by Muriel Sparks

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Dark Light

The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie is a short, fun, and light read. Given what I had heard of this book, I wanted to love it, but I can only say it was okay. Perhaps it was just my lack of concentration in general, but I found it a little jarring trying to keep up with the jumps in time and perspective Sparks makes.

It didn’t occur to me while I was reading this, but it is eerily similar in tone and structure with Dead Poet’s Society. In a sort of similar fashion, I cared a lot more about Jean Brodie and Robin William’s character than the Brodie set or aforementioned Dead Poet’s Society. The latter, I felt, were just foils to explore their audaciously brilliant and iconic teachers. In contrast to Robin William’s character in Dead Poet’s Society, however, Jean Brodie is curiously complex character. When I finished, I still had so many questions, especially her fascination for Rose to get with Teddy Lloyd.

“To me education is a leading out of what is already there in the pupil’s soul.”

Reading this made me want to become a teacher; I have had a few years experience teaching and it made me nostalgic for it. I could resonate a little bit with the drive Jean had with wanting to mentor her set in her prime, there is no greater feeling. She reminds me of a particular teacher from high school whose primary concern during class seemed to be stoking discussion about current affairs instead of the subject she was charged to teach us for. It is not surprise, she is one of my favourite teachers from time in school.

Verdict

Recommended. It was a fun enough read, and given how short in length it is, it was well worth a look.


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