THE PRIME OF MISS JEAN BRODIE by Muriel Spark #bookreview #tuesdaybookblog

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THE PRIME OF MISS JEAN BRODIE by Muriel Spark

Goodreads Blurb

‘Give me a girl at an impressionable age, and she is mine for life…’

Passionate, free-thinking and unconventional, Miss Brodie is a teacher who exerts a powerful influence over her group of ‘special girls’ at Marcia Blaine School. They are the Brodie set, the crème de la crème, each famous for something – Monica for mathematics, Eunice for swimming, Rose for sex – who are initiated into a world of adult games and extracurricular activities they will never forget. But the price they pay is their undivided loyalty …

The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie is a brilliantly comic novel featuring one of the most unforgettable characters in all literature.

My Review 

Miss Jean Brodie is an eccentric Edinburgh teacher in the 1930s. She selects a set of six girls who are each famous in their own ways – Monica for mathematics, Eunice for swimming, Rose for sex – to take under her wing throughout their school years. Her ways of interacting with the girls begins quite unconventionally and progresses to extremely adult and inappropriate extracurricular activities. In return for Miss Brodie’s special treatment and the added style and popularity the girls receive as being part of the exclusive Brodie Set the girls remain completely loyal to their mentor until one of them betrays her in the worst possible way.

THE PRIME OF MISS JEAN BRODIE is only a short novel, but I still found it a bit of the chore to read. Jean Brodie did have many comedic moments, but I just found her to be an incredibly irritating character. She was often cruel and childish and I could never figure out why she was so invested in her girls. I also wondered why none of the other teachers or the girls’ parents didn’t seem to notice there was something off about her.

This book is part of the David Bowie Reading Challenge #DBowieBooks

1. 1984

2. The Great Gatsby

3. The Gnostic Gospels

4. A Clockwork Orange

5. Lady Chatterley’s Lover

6. The Art of War

7. The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie

Links

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Review: Lady Chatterley’s Lover by D. H. Lawrence

Lady Chatterley’s Lover is famous for being banned for its racy sex scenes. There is a lot ofchatterley  discussion about sex and quite a lot of swear words are sprinkled throughout, but it really isn’t that controversial for this day and age.

The novel was published in 1928, so it definitely was very sexual for those times. What I think is much more interesting about this novel is the discussion surrounding class the way Lawrence viewed the ways that England had changed due to the Industrial Revolution. These views were extrememly controversial for the 1920s and this is what makes Lady Chatterley’s Lover such an important novel. It’s a snapshot of a time of great upheaval.

I also found the contrast between this novel and The Great Gatsby interesting. They were both written about the same time but from very different perspectives. Where The Great Gatsby is about the wealthy New Yorkers, Lady Chatterley’s Lover is about the titled familys of England.

I found Lady Chatterley’s Lover to be a bit of a slow read. I really didn’t feel very interested in any of the main characters and didn’t much care what happened to them in the end. I did find Lawrence’s views on class and the industrialisation of England enlightening and found myself pausing to highlight quite a bit.

Definitely a novel worth reading, but not simply for racy sex scenes. I do wonder if the 2020s will be as tumultuous as the 1920s? That seems about the right time for the digital revolution to be in full effect!

David Bowie Song:

Under Pressure by Queen and David Bowie feels like a good choice to describe the pressure felt by the workers during this period

 


Description

LADY CHATTERLEY’S LOVER was banned on its publication in 1928, creating a storm of controversy. Lawrence tells the story of Constance Chatterley’s marriage to Sir Clifford, an aristocratic and an intellectual who is paralyzed from the waist down after the First World War. Desperate for an heir and embarrassed by his inability to satisfy his wife, Clifford suggests that she have an affair. Constance, troubled by her husband’s words, finds herself involved in a passionate relationship with their gamekeeper, Oliver Mellors. Lawrence’s vitriolic denunciations of industrialism and class division come together in his vivid depiction of the profound emotional and physical connection between a couple otherwise divided by station and society

Details

Title: Lady Chatterley’s Lover

Author: D.H. Lawrence

Published: 1928

ISBN: 0007925557 (ISBN13: 9780007925551)

Genre: Classics, Literature, Romance, Historical Fiction

Pages: 402

Source: Own Copy

My Rating: 4/5 stars

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This book is part of the David Bowie Reading Challenge #DBowieBooks

Books Read: 4/100

1. 1984

2. The Great Gatsby

3. The Gnostic Gospels

4. A Clockwork Orange

5. Lady Chatterley’s Lover

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

A beautifully written snapshot of New York in the 1920s, old sport. gatsby1

The Great Gatsby is widely considered to be F. Scott Fitzgerald’s magnum opus, as well as a literary classic. I’m sure many people have studied this novel at some point during their school days!

It is narrated from the perspective of Nick Carraway who comes from a well-off Midwest family to New York in 1922. He becomes a mediator in the messy romance between his mysterious and fabulously wealthy next-door neighbour, Jay Gatsby, and his married cousin, Daisy. Daisy’s husband, Tom, is also having an affair and Nick spends most of the novel dating Jordan Baker,  who is a flapper and golf pro.

The Great Gatsby has become the quintessential novel of the 1920s, or the Jazz Age as Fitzgerald preferred to call it, and the decay of the American Dream. Jay Gatsby spent his entire adult life chasing the notion of the great American dream only to end up dead and alone, which implies that Fitzgerald believed it was a futile endeavour.

I believe the characters of Jay Gatsby and Nick Carraway represent different aspects of how Fitzgerald viewed himself. Fitzgerald’s wife was similar to the character of Daisy and it is well-documented that he spent a great deal of effort to make a name and fortune to impress her, much the way that Gatsby does for Daisy. Nick is the part of Fitzgerald who sees through the snobbish veneer of New York’s elite, forever feeling like an outsider.

The Great Gatsby is another one of my all-time favourite novels. I love Fitzgerald’s beautiful writing style that encapsulates the 1920s perfectly. It was a tumultuous period and this novel provides a perfect snapshot of several of the major social issues of the time: bootlegging, consumerism, social climbing, snobbery, fast cars, and reckless behaviour. The original cover is possibly my favourite book cover ever!

I can’t think of a David Bowie song that fits with The Great Gatsby, but I’m open to suggestions. As an outsider who made New York his home, I can see why Bowie listed this book as one of his favourites. I think he led the Gatsby lifestyle for quite some time before he realised the silliness of it all.

EDIT 31/01/16 I’m so silly! Fame is the perfect Bowie song for The Great Gatsby.

Fame, makes a man take things over
Fame, lets him loose, hard to swallow
Fame, puts you there where things are hollow
Fame
Fame, it’s not your brain, it’s just the flame
That burns your change to keep you insane
Fame
Fame, what you like is in the limo
Fame, what you get is no tomorrow
Fame, what you need you have to borrow
Fame
Fame, “Nein! It’s mine!” is just his line
To bind your time, it drives you to, crime
Fame
Could it be the best, could it be?
Really be, really, babe?
Could it be, my babe, could it, babe?
Really, really?
Is it any wonder I reject you first?
Fame, fame, fame, fame
Is it any wonder you are too cool to foolFame
Fame, bully for you, chilly for me
Got to get a rain check on pain
Fame
Fame, fame, fame, fame, fame, fame, fame, fame, fame,
fame
Fame, fame, fame, fame, fame, fame, fame, fame, fame,
fame
Fame, fame, fame
Fame
What’s your name?

[whispered:]

Feeling so gay, feeling gay?
Brings so much pain?


Description

THE GREAT GATSBY, F. Scott Fitzgerald’s third book, stands as the supreme achievement of his career. This exemplary novel of the Jazz Age has been acclaimed by generations of readers. The story of the fabulously wealthy Jay Gatsby and his love for the beautiful Daisy Buchanan, of lavish parties on Long Island at a time when The New York Times noted “gin was the national drink and sex the national obsession,” it is an exquisitely crafted tale of America in the 1920s.

The Great Gatsby is one of the great classics of twentieth-century literature.

Details

Title: The Great Gatsby

Author: F. Scott Fitzgerald

Published: 1925

ISBN: 0743273567 (ISBN13: 9780743273565)

Genre: Classics, Literature, Fiction

Pages: 192

Source: I own my copy

My Rating: 5/5 stars

Amazon US

Amazon UK

The Book Depository

Goodreads

This book is part of the David Bowie Reading Challenge #DBowieBooks

Books Read: 2/100

1984

The Great Gatsby