Thursday, March 15, 2007

What Was She Thinking?

After hearing so much about Notes on a Scandal, I finally saw the movie about one month ago. (Even a waitress at a café where I often have lunch recommended the movie to me.) I thought it was incredible. The acting is superb; the drama is intense. Judi Dench could not be better. The movie is an adaptation of Zoe Heller’s novel What Was She Thinking? I quickly set out to read the novel.

I recommend both the novel and the movie. They are equally well done. (Everyday I Write the Book Blog also agrees.)

What Was She Thinking? examines the relationship between the young Sheba and older Barbara. Both women are teachers at a secondary school where Sheba begins an affair with an underage student.

Barbara is the deliciously sarcastic narrator; Sheba is Barbara’s obsession. Hints are given early on in the movie and book that Barbara is most likely not psychologically healthy. Having seen the movie before reading the book, however, may have made me more sympathetic toward her character. I felt very sorry for Barbara and the troubled nature of her life – even if she created her own misery.

Heller writes with such precision and depth that I found the novel difficult to read at times. It is, above all, a sad and disturbing tale, but one brilliantly executed.


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