What Was She Thinking?

What Was She Thinking?

Notes on A Scandal

Book - 2004 | First Picador edition
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Baker & Taylor
When her best friend Sheba Hart's love affair with an underage male student comes to light, igniting a media circus, solitary schoolteacher Barbara Covett decides to write an account of the affair in her friend's defense, in the process revealing not only Sheba's secrets, but also her own. By the author of Everything You Know. Reader's Guide available. Reprint. 25,000 first printing.

McMillan Palgrave

A lonely schoolteacher reveals more than she intends when she records the story of her best friend's affair with a pupil in this sly, insightful novel

Schoolteacher Barbara Covett has led a solitary existence; aside from her cat, Portia, she has few friends and no intimates. When Sheba Hart joins St. George's as the new art teacher, Barbara senses the possibility of a new friendship. It begins with lunches and continues with regular invitations to meals with Sheba's seemingly close-knit family. But as Barbara and Sheba's relationship develops, another does as well: Sheba has begun a passionate affair with an underage male student. When it 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 Was She Thinking? is a story of repression and passion, envy and complacence, friendship and loneliness. A complex psychological portrait framed as a wicked satire, it is by turns funny, poignant, and sinister. With it, Zoë Heller surpasses the promise of her critically acclaimed first novel, Everything You Know.

Shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize

What Was She Thinking? is the basis of the 2006 film, Notes on a Scandal, starring Judi Dench and Kate Blanchett.

Publisher: New York : Picador/H. Holt, 2004
Edition: First Picador edition
ISBN: 9780312421991
Branch Call Number: FIC Heller, Z 2004
Characteristics: 258 pages ; 22 cm


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multcolib_susannel Sep 02, 2017

Driven by acute loneliness Barbara Covett begins to form an attachment to art teacher Sheba Hartt. Is it friendship or something more sinister?...

Mar 30, 2013

I listened to roughly half of this book and then couldn't bear it any more. I was acutely uncomfortable watching the slow train wreck that another reviewer referred to. And I didn't like the reader's voice, although it may have matched the narrator's well enough.

hazel161 Feb 08, 2012

Searingly smart, right to the last sentence. I recommend the excellent unabridged audiobook edition. I hope I can get my book group to discuss it—lots of meat re various kinds of relationships and manipulations.

Aug 17, 2011

Became the film "Notes on a Scandal"

WordBird Aug 14, 2009

Wasn't sure what to expect here: about a teacher that has an affair with her highschool student. But was a very, very well written book. You realize as you read it that the narrator (friend of teacher) is not what she seems. Good insight into the life of the lonely.

Mar 24, 2004

This book is like an accident you see on the road home, you just can''t look away. A middle aged teacher in a 20 year old mariage accepts the advances of her 15 year old student. But just when you expect her to be not quite all there, or weird, or a sex maniac, it turns out she is kind of ordinary. The narrator, her closest friend, is also an enigma. We hear the whole story from her point of view. But is it the truth? How much is the narrator not telling us? and how much is she manipulating the relationship with her only friend? It presents a subject that is so distasteful, yet compelling, it brings forward several moral issues. One of these issues asks the question who decides when a person is an adult and can participate in adult behaviors?


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May 30, 2008

Ringwood thinks this title is suitable for 18 years and over


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May 30, 2008

Sexual Content: This title contains Sexual Content.


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