The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie
Why this book?
A classic, and my inspiration. Dame Muriel and I went to the same school, James Gillespie’s High in Edinburgh, which she immortalised as the Marcia Blaine School for Girls. Jean Brodie is a monster, manipulating and grooming her favoured pupils, the “crème de la crème.” She is also dazzling and charismatic with a fine turn of phrase. The novel is deceptively short, more a novella—it was published in its entirety in The New Yorker magazine in 1961. But it’s a masterclass in fine writing, and every time I read it, I find new things to admire. It’s also very funny. “Who is the greatest Italian painter?”
“Leonardo da Vinci, Miss Brodie.”
“That is incorrect.
The answer is Giotto, he is my favourite.”