The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie by Muriel Spark

Jean Brodie teaches at a private school for girls in Edinburgh before World War II. She selects her favorite girls for special attention, sharing her private life with them and exposing them to her distinctive ideas about life, art and politics. She is “a woman in her prime”. Her favorite students, “the Brodie set”, are the “creme de la creme”.

This is a short, entertaining novel. The best parts are the words spoken by Jean Brodie to her students, and the thoughts expressed by some of those students on mysterious subjects like “sexual intercourse”. The book was made into a good movie years ago. One difference between the book and the movie is that Jean Brodie is more attractive than Maggie Smith, the actress who portrayed her. This matters somewhat to the plot.  (1/19/11)