Tuesday, August 19, 2014

The Bell Jar

The Bell Jar
Author: Sylvia Plath
Average Rating: 3.94/5.0
Personal Rating: 4.0/5.0
Page Count: 288
Finished Reading: August
Published: 1st Time: 1963/My copy: 2006

According to Goodreads:

A Special Paperback Edition to Commemorate the Fiftieth Anniversary of the Publication of Sylvia Plath's Remarkable Novel

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.

My Opinion:

I was pretty hesitant going into this book in the beginning. Two things prevented me from starting it way sooner:

1.      1. I had to read it for summer reading (let’s be honest with each other) who seriously wants to be forced to       read books? BUT. We must. Unfortunately. Otherwise, we will all fail those tests and papers that are          given on the first day of school that destroy our grade for the rest of the semester it seems like, because we    didn't read a book.
2.      2. All my friends who had already completed their summer reading kept saying how terrible and dreadfully       boring this novel was.

As you can see, I had my reasons that I felt allowed me to procrastinate.

Finally, about a week ago I picked The Bell Jar up around 3 A.M. As you can imagine I fell asleep about 15 minutes later. The whole next day I procrastinated till about 5 P.M. where I had to force myself to sit down in my desk, and read this novel. (At least try to…) Fast forward three hours, and you would see me fully emerged in the story.

It’s definitely not my favorite book of all time, but the concept is what enthralled me. We have this book that is written by a woman who has experienced all these things that the main character is experiencing. There’s not too many like this one out there today.

Side-note: Sylvia Plath was married to Ted Hughes, who became extremely jealous of all of her success as a writer. She suffered from depression, and eventually committed suicide. However, what made her writing be set apart from all the others at the time was her…uniqueness for a lack of a better word. During this time, nobody really knew how to deal with depression. You were locked up, and put out of mind. Obviously, our medical knowledge has come very far since then with new medication and such. Her writing showed her depression in a way that it made (and still does) readers pause, because it was so different from all the lovey-dovey murder mystery writings of the time. She showed people a different side of the human mind.

Anyway, we follow Esther through her journey of dealing with her depression. We see how people around her act. Her mother doesn't understand why Esther doesn't want to be just a secretary, but wants to be more than what a secretary requires. We see how the roles of men and females have changed since Esther’s time. We also get to see what a psychiatric hospital was like then.

The Bell Jar is a haunting and depressing novel, but believe it or not it’s a book that you should read. This novel puts you in the place of a young woman who is spiraling downwards in a world and a society that doesn't know how to handle it properly. It’s a raw book, but it gets you to think.