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What Was She Thinking?: Notes on a Scandal | [Zoe Heller]

What Was She Thinking?: Notes on a Scandal

Schoolteacher Barbara Covett has led a bitter, lonely life as a self-made careerist. Sheba Hart is an ethereal, inexperienced new pottery teacher. When Barbara hears of Sheba's problems in the classroom, a maternal pity arises in her that soon leads to friendship and confidence. But Barbara is unprepared for the secret she will learn: that Sheba has begun a passionate affair with an underage male student. Barbara's confusion, disapproval, and jealousy are helpless to prevent the coming disaster.
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Publisher's Summary

Schoolteacher Barbara Covett has led a bitter, lonely life as a self-made careerist. Sheba Hart is an ethereal, inexperienced new pottery teacher. When Barbara hears of Sheba's problems in the classroom, a maternal pity arises in her that soon leads to friendship and confidence. But Barbara is unprepared for the secret she will learn: that Sheba has begun a passionate affair with an underage male student. Barbara's confusion, disapproval, and jealousy are helpless to prevent the coming disaster.

When the story comes to light and Sheba falls prey to the inevitable media circus, Barbara decides to write an account in her friend's defense; an account that reveals not only Sheba's secrets, but her own. What results is a complex psychological portrait framed as a wicked satire - a story of passion and repression, mercy and betrayal.

©2003 ZoĆ« Heller; (P)2006 Blackstone Audio Inc.

What the Critics Say

"Gripping from start to finish; Heller brings vivid, nuanced characterizations to the racy story." (Publishers Weekly)
"Both a penetrating character study and a sharp examination of voyeurism, Heller's novel is utterly brilliant." (Booklist)
"Equally adroit at satire and at psychological suspense, Heller charts the course of a predatory friendship and demonstrates the lengths to which some people go for human company." (New Yorker)

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    Martha Eau Claire, WI, USA 04-16-08
    Martha Eau Claire, WI, USA 04-16-08 Member Since 2007
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    "martha"

    I agree with several of the other reviews here. The subtly and elegance of the writing was masterful. I have not seen the movie and from what I've heard, think I'll just leave it that way. I came away with such vivid pictures of these characters I would hate to spoil it, like toothpaste after orange juice. The progression of the main characters from independent interesting women into their tangle of dependancy was so smooth you hardly felt it happening. I made me really look at the more subtle aspects of who we lean on in our lives and why.
    I also agree that the narration was perfect for the book. I really enjoyed the entire package.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Christine Bloom Los Angeles 03-01-08
    Christine Bloom Los Angeles 03-01-08

    Christine B.

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    "The Latent Lesbian"

    I love the tongue in cheek tone and wit in this book and the narrator's voice is perfect for the character. Loved the movie and this is even better.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
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