Title: The Bell Jar
Author: Sylvia Plath
Length: 224 pages
Warnings: alcohol, implied sex, suicide attemts
Source: school LRC
Other info: Sylvia Plath has also written
Summary : 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.
Review: This is the story of Esther Greenwood. She starts off in the city, having won a contest giving her a job in New York. At some point she is diagnosed with neurosis, and goes to a treatment centre. There’s not really any other way to describe this...just life in and out of the city with a mental illness...
Part of my Book Club’s summer challenge was to pair up with someone and challenge them to read a book of your choice (I had Narcissa read Divergent). She challenged me to read this. I didn’t know what to expect, because my edition had no blurb, and the cover doesn’t help, and all I was told was “It’s very good’”. And it was.
I really felt for Esther and all that she went through, and believe me, she went through a lot. The start was very good-telling you how Esther thinks of things, her surroundings, her situation and so on. it then goes on to describe how she gets out of town, tries to deal with Buddy, her childhood sweetheart who turns out to be not as good as she thought he was, how she copes with life and so on. It was very easy to connect with her, and also to imagine how she felt at every part of the story. The first person narrative made it easy to understand how she felt, and easy to follow her thoughts. You got a clear sense of her personality from her narration, dialogue and actions.
I didn’t like Buddy that much. He seemed to manipulate Esther and I feel sorry for her, with how he led a double life behind her back. I liked Joan a lot, and it seemed like Esther had a real friend in her. The other characters weren’t that important, but had clear personalities and influenced Esther a lot.
I didn’t like the way it ended. Not because ************ dies, even though it was really sad, but because it just seems to end suddenly. I didn’t understand what was happening in the final scene, and that’s just really the only weak point in the book.
Overall: Strength 4 tea to a book that really pulls you in, even if you don’t think it looks very interesting. Because it is.