• The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie

  • By: Muriel Spark
  • Narrated by: Wanda McCaddon
  • Length: 3 hrs and 59 mins
  • 4.1 out of 5 stars (280 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

In the classic work that launched a play, a movie, and a song, Muriel Spark tells the darkly intriguing story of an eccentric Edinburgh teacher and the intense relationship she develops with six of her students.

The scandalously outspoken Miss Brodie makes big waves in the conservative Scottish school, preaching the value of art, passion, and daring. While her bold values inspire an almost cult-like reverence in her young protégées, her politics, rivalries, and frank sensuality lead ultimately to her downfall.

Told from the unsympathetic perspective of one of Miss Brodie's students, the novel explores themes of innocence and betrayal and the tension between cold rationality and unchecked emotionalism.

©1961 Muriel Spark (P)2007 Blackstone Audio Inc.

Critic Reviews

"A perfect book." (Chicago Tribune)   

"Admirably written, beautifully constructed, extremely amusing, and deeply serious." (Saturday Review

"A gloriously witty and polished vignette." (Times Literary Supplement)  

What listeners say about The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

creme de la creme

Ms. May delivers this classic with her usual nuanced precision, moving between voices, young and old, male and female, high born and low, flawlessly. Though you may have read this book years ago, it has surprises on re-reading. It is a tale of complex characters that leaves you divided in your sympathies. This is a short novel that has stood the test of time and Ms. May's expert narration is theatre for the ear.

12 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

The Prime of Muriel Spark (and Nadia May)

Muriel Spark tells this story all at once. A 10-year- old girl is introduced, described, and then we see her 28 years later, talking to her husband, or suddenly transported from the classroom to her birthday tea with a friend the week before. We're told who dies years before they do. We know the denouement well before the last sentence.

The technique may sound “experimental”, but the effect is far more enjoyable than some literary innovations the 20th century foisted on an unsuspecting public. With its scene shifts and leaps in time, the narrative can sound as fractured and scattershot as Miss Jean Brody’s teaching method—or her views on art, life and her “girls”. But the ultimate sense of well-rounded completeness is akin to that we derive from a good three-volume Victorian novel—minus several hundred pages. Nadia May reads this one as if the story was written for her.

4 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Nadia May made the story come alive.

The novella deals with students development. It also highlights the destructive nature of Political correctness. It's the perfect education novel for our times.

3 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

"There was a Miss Jean Brodie in her prime"

Any additional comments?

I highly recommend this short novel. It is a very well written story about innocent impression, that evokes sympathies that change as the 'girls' grow up.
I kept reminding myself that the book was published in the early 60's, but i'm not sure it required such reminders, being so much ahead of its time.
unlike the initial impression, i found in the book, much beyond the 'growing up' aspect.

It was especially touching, to recognize the author in 'Sandy', and realise that Spark was inspired by her own 'Miss Brodie in her prime'.

2 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

overall a 3.5, but the reader was fabulous

The story is really a 3.5 to me, but the reader really makes this book enjoyable.

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Exceeded my expectations

I saw the classic movie ages ago, before I became a teacher myself. Apart from the pure entertainment value of this audiobook, it has so much intriguing historical and psychological insight. I loved it!

1 person found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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mixed feelings

I do not know, but perhaps the book is too slow to me, and I honestly have no idea how to decipher its central protagonist- Miss Jean Brodie. What is she? I cannot tell. The movie was probably better, but even in the movie I do not the character is about. The same happened to me in my effort to grasp the character of Garp in The World According to Garp. Could this book speak to the contemporary reader, I doubt. Return of the Soldier Bebecca West is infinitely superior to it (I do not why I mention this book-by another female author from the same period sort of where characters a drawn in a clear and identifiable manner).

A.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Meh

This book is the exception that proves the rule that a book is better than the movie. Skip the book and go watch Maggie Smith as Miss Jean Brodie.

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

Book equivalent of a chick flick

Would you try another book from Muriel Spark and/or Nadia May?

I would not.

What was most disappointing about Muriel Spark’s story?

The fact the story was propelled by 'he said, she said'. It was like listening to rumors and chit chat.

Which scene was your favorite?

It really didn't have scenes.....it was like listening to a group of girls from another era talk amongst themselves. There was a lot of flash back and flash forward.

If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie?

Most of it.

Any additional comments?

The book is well written, provides a window into another culture and era, and the reader did a fine job. However as a male, I didn't like the story, found it boring.

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