19 January 2016

The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath

Title: The Bell Jar
Author: Sylvia Plath
Pages: 288
Genre: Classic, Feminism, Mental Health
Book Description:
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:
If you ever ask anyone about Sylvia Plath they'll probably tell you 'she was a poet' and 'she killed herself.' Probably in that order too!
I have read almost all of Plath's poems and they are phenomenal (to say the least!) There's the full range: happiness, anger, sadness. And they all feel real! Now if you're receiving that from her well-known poems, you'd expect that from a novel written under a pseudonym... And that's what you get!

This novel was fantastic. It was quite an emotional read but I felt a connection between myself and the protagonist. To be honest, I think anyone would feel it. She's goes through feelings we all go through; happiness, rebellion and really deep states of depression. Esther is the kind of person I want as a friend!

Along with this character, the plot was fascinating. As we know, there are parts that are actually autobiographical! This was interesting because as I was reading it, I kept trying to think about which of these scenes might have been fictional and which may have been real. The intrigue encouraged me to research her background a little bit and I now know which parts actually happened. Knowing this made me want to read it all over again!

Despite the emotional plot line and outstanding narrative, this was quite a short read. Although I did like this, I wish it had been longer because I feel like there was so much more I wanted to know about her life! I intend to look into some of Ted Hughes' work, since he was married to her.

I would recommend this classic novel to everyone, it must be read by all book lovers at least once. It's absolutely sensational, full of happiness and laughter, heartache and sadness. I can not encourage you to read it any more than that. Just do it.

Favourite Quotes:

If you expect nothing from anybody, you’re never disappointed.


I felt my lungs inflate with the onrush of scenery—air, mountains, trees, people. I thought, "This is what it is to be happy


I shut my eyes and all the world drops dead; 
I lift my eyes and all is born again


There is nothing like puking with somebody to make you into old friends


The silence depressed me. It wasn't the silence of silence. It was my own silence.


I thought how strange it had never occurred to me before that I was only purely happy until I was nine years old


I took a deep breath and listened to the old brag of my heart. I am. I am. I am

Rating ★
5 out of 5 stars 

Relatively recently, a film staring Daniel Craig and Gwyneth Paltrow was produced all about Plath's life. It's a really good film and I think it accurately represents the marriage between herself and Hughes. Definitely worth a watch, so here's the trailer:

Next book I'm going to review:
Between the Lines by Jodi Picoult and Samantha Van Leer