July 7, 2009

What Was She Thinking? [Notes on a Scandal], by Zoe Heller

Lucy read this in French Milk, which reminded me that I wanted to see the movie based on it. So I got both out from the library.

I haven't watched the film yet, but the book was a quick and enjoyable read. I considered calling it "chick lit with a brain", but that's trivializing it, to say the least.

On the surface, it's about a married middle-aged teacher's affair with her teenage student. Below that, it's about the narrator, an older teacher who lives alone with her cat. She is a true spinster, uptight and severely lonely. Since she never has more than one friend at a time, she gets a bit obsessive.

While it can be a bit dark and chilling, with an uncertain conclusion, it didn't have any lasting impact, and while it was easy to read, it was never hard to put down. I still want to put it somewhere between the psychological thrillers of Ian McEwan and the light British girly fare of Helen Fielding.

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