I found this book rather abrupt and, sorry to say, pointless. It is written like a memoir and the scandalous headline could very well come from the modern day tabloids. However, this book did too good a job reining in the emotions. There's many subjects implied but never elaborated (for example, the jealousy the narrator feels when Sheba befriends another female teacher) and what we get is the antiseptic story of a teacher having relations with a minor. There's not even a clear picture of why the narrator decides she is going to stick by Sheba, or even if she plans to continue to stick with her until the scandal dies down.
This is a nicely-written account of two fictional, yet disturbing, relationships: one between a schoolteacher and her 15 year old student, and the other between a reclusive and lonely older teacher and the younger teacher having the affair. Written from the older teacher, Barbara Covett's, point of view and presented as a chronicle of the illegal affair, "What Was She Thinking?" analyzes the role that sensational stories have on the public, yet the truly more engaging story involves Covett's unfolding obsession over the younger woman. A good study on the effects of loneliness with a horridly disturbing, yet oddly emotional, ending, that is well worth reading. The explosively-acted film version starring Judi Dench and Cate Blanchett is a marvel, too!
I found this novel a compulsive read, very well written, an unusual twist on a scandal between a teacher and her teenage student, set in London. This talented writer's insights are truly spellbinding and spot-on.
Vikki C. (Vikki) reviewed What Was She Thinking?: Notes on a Scandal on
Helpful Score: 1
Incredibly well-written. First person narrative, compact, matter of fact writing style. Though the story is about a younger teacher/pupil liaison, it's actually about an older teacher exacting discipline.
You really don't want to like Sheba, but her story as told by her blah teacher friend is one that captures your interest and in the end you may not like her still (and probably won't), but you'll understand her better. A slow read, but worth it. I wouldn't read it twice, but I'm glad I read it once!
I thought this book was only okay. It was a best-seller and was made into a movie, so I thought it was going to be really good, but I was rather disappointed. Maybe I missed the nuances or it was over my head, but I thout it was neither "compelling" nor "brilliant" as some of the reviews put it. It wasn't terrible, just not as good as I was expecting. I think amusing is a better description, and it was well written, just not the "literary page turner" it was touted to be on the cover.
I read some of the reviews on this book and they were all positive, people saying they really enjoyed the book. I was not as impressed. I didn't think the book was bad, but I didn't think it was that great either. It was an interesting subject and the relationship between the narrator Barbara and Sheba was strange. I thought that relationship was more interesting to read about than the relationship between Sheba and her student. Some reviews mentioned a twist at the end, but I didn't get it.
A book that captures you with its intrigue, suspense, and insight into human nature. You learn as much about the rather bland narrator as you do about the main character, Sheba, who is a schoolteacher in love with one of her own students. I'd say more, but am afraid of giving too much away. Suffice it to say, this was quite a page-turner.
Bev H. reviewed What Was She Thinking?: Notes on a Scandal on
Schoolteacher Barbara Covett has led a solitary existence. The new art teacher, Sheba Hart, becomes a friend and opens Barbara's life. But Sheba becomes sexually involved with a male student, and the legal and media worlds enter the picture. This book is Barbara's narrative and she reveals as much about herself as about Sheba.
Schoolteacher Barbara Covett has led a solitary life until Sheba Hart, the new art teacher at St. George's, befriends her. But even as their relationship develops, so too does another: Sheba has begun an illicit affair with an underage male student. When the scandal turns into a media circus, Barbara decides to write an account in her friend's defense-and ends up revealing not only Sheba's secrets but also her own.