Monday, September 28, 2015

Review: The Bell Jar by Sylia Plath

The Bell JarThe Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I am having a hard time giving this book a star rating. I finished it last night and then continued on with the P.S. features in this edition. A poem Syliva Plath wrote, a review of her life and more about The Bell Jar.

The Bell Jar tells of the descent into darkness of the brilliant, enormously talented Esther Greenwood. Like Sylvia, Esther's breakdown was slow and excruciating. The words are beautifully written, hauntingly real, understandably sad and poignant.This is not a feel good book.

In 1963 when this book was published I was a teenager, experiencing peer pressure, studies, and my first boyfriend. In 1953 when this book takes place, my grandmother was spending time in our state's mental hospital. Maybe that is why this book touched me so. As I read of Esther's experiences in The Bell Jar, I could not help but see my grandmother in a different light. I felt for her, I wish I had understood when she was still alive. My own life has endured depression and so have my daughter and my granddaughter. I truly believe that depression is a chemical imbalance in the brain and thankfully better treated now than in 1953, or even 1963.

So I guess it deserves at least 4 stars for the brilliant writing and capturing of the real feelings of depression. It made me think and feel some of the things I had "suffed" in the past. But no, I did not "like it", I did not "really like it" and I did not feel "it was amazing". Read this book at your own risk. Know going in that you will come out changed.

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  1. I read 'The Bell Jar' for the first time a few months ago and it absolutely changed me. I definitely agree that it's a book you have to approach at your own risk because it had me close to tears at times and sometimes it was really dark. Great review :)
    Juli @ Universe in Words

  2. I have yet to read The Bell Jar. I thoroughly enjoyed your review. I like how you tied the story to your personal experience. I'm also grateful for the advances that have been made in mental health. We still have a long way to go.