Sunday, April 28, 2013

The Bell Jar, by Sylvia Plath

Barnes & Noble

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.

Sylvia Plath knows all of my secrets.

I've suffered from depression since I was eight years old. I've been suicidal since the age of ten. And I've never understood why people care whether or not someone kills herself. Yes, I would be heartbroken if someone I loved committed suicide, but I would understand. Unlike most people who read Plath and wonder WHY, I get it. And she gets me. And I love that.

Did you know that The Bell Jar is actually quite a funny novel? Esther Greenwood is a quick-witted young woman who may have lost hope for the future, but hasn't lost her edge. I chuckled at the dark humor surrounding her suicide options: guns could be unpredictable; it was hard to find a place to hang herself; it took forever to build up a stash of pills; etc.

Despite the morbid theme and the knowledge of Path's own suicide, I was really happy with this book.  It's something I've been meaning to read for a long time, and it's likely something I will read again.

(And no, I'm not suicidal right now.)

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