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Notes on a scandal by Zoe Heller
Notes on a Scandal - Zoe Heller
Member Name: siberian-queen
Notes on a Scandal - Zoe Heller
Date: 28/09/12, updated on 01/10/12 (58 review reads)
Advantages: Captivating story and easy to read
Disadvantages: Adult/teen relationship may put some off
My fourth book in the www.sixbookchallenge.com is
Notes on a scandal By Zoe Heller
This book intrigued me from the star, written in the perspective of the main characters friend.
Bathsheba (or Sheba as she is known) is a pottery teacher in her early forties who starts a job at an inner city school, which holds some testing teenagers. On starting her job she is introduced to the variety of teachers there and one who seems distant to begin with is Barbara a long standing teacher who is in her sixties nearing retirement, but who can certainly hold her own with the rowdy teens in means of her strict, no nonsense nature.
There relationship starts to develop as Sheba has difficulty in controlling her pupils and Barbara steps in to assist.
The main stay of the story is how Sheba develops a relationship with a teenage boy called Steven and how it rips apart the world she has built with her husband and children.
***Sheba and Steven***
Did Sheba take advantage of a teenage boy? Yes in my opinion if you are the adult I feel that is an unquestionable trust as both an adult and as a teacher that should not be betrayed. Steven is fifteen - naive? I doubt it. From the book you get the feeling that he did know what trouble that both he and Sheba could get into, but remember back to your teenage years - did you care? Doubt not. The whole not getting caught and knowing of how "wrong" it was probably part of the thrill.
I guess many of us can relate in some respects to feeling attracted to someone younger but fifteen??............
The actual relationship only lasted a few months and you are quickly drawn to how intensely Sheba thought of Steven and although perhaps realizing at some degree that it would not go anywhere, was willing to take increasing risks regarding her family. Whereas Steven, I get the impression it was more of a sex issue with an older women thing and once the initial excitement had gone that was it, he wanted out.
***Sheba and Barbara***
Now here's an interesting friendship. At first it appears just two teachers who have bonded of the raucous teens at there school. As time goes by they spend more and more time together and by about half way through the book you start to feel that maybe Barbara has more intense feelings for Sheba, whether she realizes it or not.
When Barbara finds out about Steven she is school mam ish and tells her it must stop, of course it doesn't, and then later feels dejected by Sheba for not confiding in her. However, when push comes to shove Barbara is the only one who is truly there for Sheba though it all when the truth comes out.
***Sheba and her family***
Sheba married young to an older man. Perhaps this is part of the attraction of Steven, young and exciting, something she feels she may have missed out on?
Polly is her stepdaughter who is a few years older than Steven and with whom she is having difficulties with discipline. Then her son Ben who has downs syndrome and whom she clearly adores. What will become of there family relationships when the truth comes out and will they have a family at all?
A good, gripping story with some complex relationships which are brilliantly portrayed in the book and I would now like to watch the film to see how Judi Dench and Gwyneth Paltrow play these intriguing characters.
It does make me wonder with such stories as many are the male teacher and the girl teen and how this, opposite way round relationship, is seen by the media and general public.
In the end of the book I felt was a bit of a let down to be honest. I wanted to know more about what happened to each character and how there lives played out.
Review maybe posted on dooyoo and ciao under the same username.
Summary: A good gripping story about a relationship between a teacher and student