Author: Sylvia Plath
Genre: Classic Fiction
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Caution: May contain spoilers
Esther Greenwood is brilliant, beautiful, enormously talented, and successful, but slowly going under--maybe for the last time. In her acclaimed and enduring masterwork, Sylvia Plath brilliantly draws the reader into Esther's breakdown with such intensity that her insanity becomes palpably real, even rational--as accessible an experience as going to the movies. A deep penetration into the darkest and most harrowing corners of the human psyche, "The Bell Jar" is an extraordinary accomplishment and a haunting American classic.
~synopsis from Goodreads
I have been curious about Sylvia Plath for awhile. I’m a lover of poetry and knew that she wrote not only poems but also this book. It has been said that the book told a lot about her personally, including the struggles she went through dealing with depression. I knew this was the one I wanted to read and review for Banned Books Week this year.
In the beginning, I found it absorbing the way she would bring up these little tidbits from the past, things from her childhood. There was something from the present that triggered a memory and it was such a seemingly insignificant piece of information, but it made the book seem more realistic. Sometimes I didn’t know whether she was talking about the present or the past, but in either case, I was still intrigued enough by whatever story was being discussed that it didn’t matter.
As the story progressed, it became a little darker and more depressing. I found myself feeling sad and disheartened reading Esther’s inner dialogue. I know a little bit about depression and suicidal tendencies, but reading this made it all the more clear how deep-seated those emotions ran inside a person. You may think you can (as a person who isn’t clinically depressed but has had moments in life where depression has struck) understand, yet I never fully understood until now.
The Bell Jar is not a story for the weak to read. It can be upsetting to read about someone who is going through a severe mental illness. Sylvia Plath really put her everything into writing this novel. She doesn’t mince words and she expresses feelings in a way I’ve never seen. I did enjoy it for the most part, even though the atmosphere of the story brought me down.
Very Good: Stay up late