Book Review: The Bell Jar // Sylvia Plath
Hey friends! I've been on a very religious reading kick lately, so I figured I'd start writing up some book reviews for those of you who love literature as much as I do. The first book I'm featuring is the one I have most recently finished up.
Title: The Bell Jar
Author: Sylvia Plath
Genre: Roman à clef / Fiction
The Bell Jar follows a gifted college student (Esther Greenwood) and her journey through various mental illness struggles. While I can't say it was my favorite that I've read, I think anyone could agree that it's written very well. This is partly because of Plath's ability to allow readers a clear view into Esther's brain, and partly because Esther's brain is also her own. The Bell Jar is a partially autobiographical account of Plath's own struggles and experiences, crafted in the form of a fictional character.
While everything about this book sounds like something that would be right up my alley, I had trouble getting in to the book as it started out very slowly. I have a personal rule of not abandoning books I haven't finished, so I kept going despite feeling bored, but it was at times a bit struggling until midway through when the story line picked up rapidly.
That being said, after feeling such an intense rush when the story line approached top speed, the momentum died off and I felt the end of the story was very anticlimactic. I have mixed views on this - while I, being a selfish reader expected something more, I also appreciate the fact that the end took on a very realistic approach.
Finally, while Plath wrote this book in 1953 (published 1963) and it definitely shows in her cultural details and descriptions, her very personal approach to Esther's story has a timeless element that I found endearing. This allowed me to draw a strong emotional connection to the story, even it if wasn't necessarily my favorite read.
WARNING: I would NOT recommend this book to anyone who experiences triggers with suicidal or self-harm content, as some parts get pretty detailed and raw. However, I would absolutely recommend it to those who fight mental illness in different ways and are able to handle those descriptions in a healthy manner.
"If neurotic is wanting two mutually exclusive things at one and the same time, then I'm neurotic as hell. I'll be flying back and forth between one mutually exclusive thing and another for the rest of my days."
-Sylvia Plath, excerpt from The Bell Jar
Plath passed away from a suicide death shortly after The Bell Jar
was published in the UK in the year 1863.
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