Book Review: The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath

The Bell JarIt seems as if I am all about female authors this year. I read this book junior year of high school, but I
didn’t remember much of it. I decided it was time for a re-read!

The Bell Jar tells the story of a woman named Esther who seems well-accomplished but suffers from undiagnosed mental health problems. Esther navigates an internship, friendship, and romance in NewYork City, and her difficulty with these experiences, as well a rejection from a writing course, results in a rapidly deteriorating state of mental health. The experiences of Esther parallel those in Sylvia Plath’s own life, so many argue that a lot of aspects of the text are autobiographical. However, Esther and Sylvia’s lives end differently.

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

My rating: 5/5 stars. This is a dark book that was a lot different than I originally remembered it. As I’ve said before, mental health is an important issue to me, and this book certainly covers that topic. Given that this book was published in the 1960s, it provided a different perspective on mental health and how it was treated than what we experience today—although, sadly, there are still a lot of similarities regarding the stigma. This is an important classic that I recommend to people interested in mental health and feminism. Interestingly, I think that my generation, who seems to be struggling with navigating the transition to
adulthood, would find this book relatable.

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