Tuesday, October 06, 2009

The Bell Jar, Sylvia Plath's semi-autobiographical novel.

Now, I had an idea of what to expect with this book, especially as it was published (initially under a pseudonym) a few weeks before Plath's suicide. The book is written from the perspective of Esther Greenwood, a promising scholarship student, and it begins with her spending time in New York on an all-expenses paid trip, working for a magazine. It is during this time that she starts to feel, initially, inadequate. This inadequacy spirals, and eventually Esther is being treated in various psychiatric wards and asylums. This was a bit painful to read in parts, and it could only have been written by someone who had experienced the same as Esther- her emotions are laid completely bare in parts. The description of shock treatment was especially harrowing.I'm glad I read this book though. I would advise a small amount of caution though, as it does deal with issues that could be distressing to the reader, especially if depression is something they've encountered.


Anonymous said...

re: The Bell Jar:

I read this when I was a depressed teenager and it helped to solidify my interest in psychology and desire to study it in more detail. You're right, it's a very harrowing book - but such a good portrayal of distress and depersonalisation.

Meatina said...

Sorry, only just saw you'd commented! Bad Blogger, no biscuit.
Yeah, I still have my copy, but I think I'll be waiting a while before reading it again.