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The Bell Jar

29 Feb 2016

Thank goodness for leap day as I managed to technically get in another book in February. I forgot why I added The Bell Jar to my wishlist, but it was sitting there when I went to buy another set of books so I figured why not give it a shot. I think I wanted to read something by Sylvia Plath as I have heard her name floated about but never really got around to it before. As this is her only novel, it was a natural choice.

The Bell Jar is essentially autobiographical which makes it that much more interesting to me, but even if it wasn't the story itself is quite good. The writing is clearly on that higher level where you can tell the author really gets it. Her use of just the write metaphor at the right time made certain emotions come through in a distinct way. At the same time, it still comes across as a first novel, raw and unpolished to a certain degree. The sad thing is that she succeeded in killing herself before writing another novel which could have really allowed her to stretch her abilities.

I highly recommend this book, although I will say it may be a tough read from an existential perspective. There are a lot of depressing scenes and themes that make you mentally have to work to distance yourself a bit lest you fall victim to the same bell jar that the title represents. That could be just my opinion as my mind has a tendancy to run wild when presented with pessimistic, depressing styles of writing. I'm not naturally pessimistic or depressed, but it just gets my mind going down strange rabbit holes. Moreover, I do not think you have to be depressive to have a reaction to this book. It has a subtle way of pulling you in even if you try to distance yourself from the main character.


Category: book