Monday, November 17, 2008

The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath

This is another one of those books that I've been meaning to read for some time. Considered to be a classic, Plath's novel takes the reader deep into Esther's mindset as she battles mental illness and depression. Wow, what a ride it was if I do say so myself. When we first meet Esther she is in New York participating in an internship that she won from a magazine along with 11 other girls. Esther's story switches from the present to the past as she goes back and forth between her memories and what she is presently experiencing. And even from the beginning the reader can sense that something is a bit off with the way that Esther is feeling.
When Esther's internship ends and she returns home you can just feel the downward spiral. Plath describes with such detail and the way she writes just made me feel for Esther the entire time. I couldn't always understand the reasoning that made Esther behave the way she did but I was always rooting for her and hoping that she would be able to get better.
In a previous post, I talked about how I wondered if Sylvia Plath based part of this book on her own life. Once I finished the book and read the afterword I had my answer. A lot of Esther's experiences with depression and mental illness are based on Plath's own experience with depression. I can't even begin to imagine the way that Plath felt writing this book let alone ever hearing it critiqued. This was a powerful story and one I'm glad that I took the time to read. Wow!
My Rating: 4.5 out of 5

9 comments:

  1. I've heard good things about this book.
    Great review :)
    http://thebookworm07.blogspot.com/

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  2. Wonderful review! This one is on my TBR.

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  3. Naida and Teddy Rose- This is definitely a worthwhile read and I would say to give it a try. You might want to read something a bit lighter afterwards though.

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  4. Nice review!! I've never read any Plath myself. I get depressed enough as is!!

    By the way, I tagged your for a meme. Hope you don't mind!

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  5. Stephanie- I can understand why you wouldn't read her then. It was a dark book. Thanks for tagging me but I already did it so I'll pass this time :)

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  6. LOOOVED this book! It's high on my re-read list, too. It's been several years and I can't remember as much about it as I'd like to.

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  7. Andi- It was a good read. Once I get more "classics" read maybe I'll go back to it.

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  8. Wow! I really enjoyed reading your thoughts on this book and you've definitely made me want to move it up on the list! Plath has fascinated me ever since I studied her poetry several years ago.

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  9. Trish- After reading this book I would definitely be interested in reading some of her poetry. The copy that I read had both a foreward and afterward which were both informative and interesting to read.

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