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Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar

Sylvia Plath’s shocking, realistic, and intensely emotional novel about a woman falling into the grip of insanity

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.

Mmm, still not really sure what to think about this book. It came highly recommended and I did enjoy reading it, even though at times, the story felt somewhat disjointed or as if parts were deliberately left out to leave the reader wondering what really happened. For example, without giving too much of the story away, why Ester landed up in the emergency room after consensually losing her virginity, or why she was left so badly bruised and with eyes swollen shut after a suicide attempt from taking an overdose?

I did find the story fascinating as it gives a glimpse into what it was like for women in the 50’s & 60’s where they were still expected to, once completing their studies, go on to find a suitable husband and have a baby and how heavily this weighted on Esther as she didn’t feel she fitted into what was considered a culturally acceptable role of womanhood. Although the book does hint, in the early part of the story, that she does eventually go on to have a baby later in life.

I also found the ending a bit of a non ending, the story has a lot of loose ends where your imagination is left to wonder as to what happened next. Was she released from the asylum? Did she overcome her battle with depression or did she eventually commit suicide?

It is an interesting and dark read, you really do feel Ester slowly at first, and then rapidly unravel and lose her grip on her sanity.

The one thing that did irritate me was all the spelling errors in the Kindle edition I bought. Seriously, the word “the” is misspelled almost the entire way through the book as “die” and other spelling errors where I had to go back and read the sentence a couple of times to figure out what was being written.

But this is a classic and it is well worth the read! A solid 4 stars from me!

You can buy the paperback here:

Or the Kindle edition here:

 

 

 

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