Book Review: The Bell Jar

Via Goodreads
Via Goodreads

Summary (from Goodreads):

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.

I had to read this book for my American Women Novelists class. Upon reading the summary of the book I thought it sounded pretty interesting. I’ve heard of the author before, Sylvia Plath, but I never looked into her to pick up one of her books. In fact, this is her only novel. Everything else she published were poems and things like that.

I enjoy reading books about “insanity” because it has a certain thriller edge to it. Well… the book was not what I expected to say the least. I still enjoyed it, though. Halfway through the book I found myself wondering, “is there going to be a happy ending for this protagonist?”

The novel is an autobiographical work of fiction. Sylvia Plath herself went through depression and seemingly all the stages her main character did. I did a little research on Sylvia Plath for my class and discovered she committed suicide at the young age of 31. After finding that out, I had to ask myself again… will the book have a happy ending?

I’m not going to say anymore due to spoilers, but I will say I do recommend the book. It’s a quick read at 244 pages so it can be fast-paced at some times. Yet, it seemed to go by so slow (in a good way).

Favorite Quote:

“The more hopeless you were, the further away they hid you.” –Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar

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6 thoughts on “Book Review: The Bell Jar

  1. Silvia Plath’s personal story is so sad (especially since she was such a talented writer – I’m mostly familiar with her poetry, which you should definitely give a read if you get the chance). Added this one to my TBR for future reading.

  2. Didn’t you find some aspects in the beginning, the way she thought and responded, funny? This book is wonderfully emotional and heartbreakingly sad. Especially when you take her real struggles into account while reading the story. I do find this book, one of my top all time favorites.

    • I read it a long time ago so it’s hard to remember, to be honest. But I do agree with you–it’s sad, but when you realize that it’s based off of her real life experiences, it is heartbreaking.

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