Sunday, 3 March 2019

Book Review: The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath

Esther Greenwood is brilliant, beautiful, talented and successful, but she is slowing going under - possibly for the last time.

“Because wherever I sat - on the deck of a ship or at a street café in Paris or Bangkok - I would be sitting under the same glass bell jar, stewing in my own sour air.”

Unfortunately I did not fall head over heels in love with The Bell Jar as I had hoped to, but I HAVE fallen for the writing of Sylvia Plath - and even Plath herself. My Pinterest board has recently been covered with her quotes, and I even bought a copy of her unabridged journals following a recommendation from @yleniareads That’s not to say I didn’t enjoy The Bell Jar, I really really liked it, it just wasn’t as life-changing as I had perhaps anticipated.

I resonated with Esther in a lot of ways - I lost my father at a young age and, without sounding entirely egotistical, I also have achieved a lot of academic success in my life, which ultimately leads to me expecting more and more, afraid of failure. The expectations I place upon myself are high, and my mental health will suffer when things don’t go as planned. So it was easy for me to relate to some of the feelings Esther has. And that’s always nice when we read!

Plath’s description of the bell jar itself is genius - that our protagonist feels suffocated, as if she has been placed under one. And every now and again she has moments of clarity, when the bell jar is lifted. Of course there are a lot of parallels between Plath and Esther, and I found it hard to dissociate the two at times. Reading this knowing Plath’s fate is almost uncomfortable, it feels as though you are reading her diary. It just made me feel sad at times :(

It’s a beautifully written book, sprinkled with little moments of dark humour. Some parts were less intriguing or interesting than others. I probably preferred the second half over the first, where we really witness Esther at rock bottom.

Overall, I may not have absolutely adored it, but the memorable quotes and imagery will prevail. I’m glad it has introduced me to the talent that was Sylvia Plath. 4 stars.


1 comment :

  1. Grammarly Cost
    Language is an important part of expressing ourselves to the whole world. It is needed while we are speaking to someone and also when we are writing something. The language that we talk often tends to have colloquialisms, and the grammar isn't always perfect. But it does reflect into our writings. Along with that, we aren't always able to write in perfect grammar.


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