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Bell Jar Audio Cassette – Audiobook, Jan 16 1997

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Audio Cassette, Audiobook, Jan 16 1997
CDN$ 38.63 CDN$ 33.52

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Product Details

  • Audio Cassette
  • Publisher: Harper; Unabridged edition (Jan. 16 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0694517305
  • ISBN-13: 978-0694517305
  • Product Dimensions: 18 x 11.5 x 2.2 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 154 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (175 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #3,581,015 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

From Amazon

Plath was an excellent poet but is known to many for this largely autobiographical novel. The Bell Jar tells the story of a gifted young woman's mental breakdown beginning during a summer internship as a junior editor at a magazine in New York City in the early 1950s. The real Plath committed suicide in 1963 and left behind this scathingly sad, honest and perfectly-written book, which remains one of the best-told tales of a woman's descent into insanity. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Library Journal

This 25th-anniversary edition of Plath's posthumous autobiographical novel includes a new foreword by the book's original editor, Frances McCullough; biographical notes; and eight previously unpublished drawings by Plath. Bravo to HarperCollins for putting all this together at a reasonable price.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars

Most helpful customer reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Jennifer Cameron-Smith TOP 50 REVIEWER on April 20 2010
Format: Paperback
Esther Greenwood, a college student from Massachusetts wins a dream assignment, with eleven other students, on a big New York fashion magazine. Esther is vulnerable and impressionable and is unable to enjoy her assignment; some of her experiences frighten and disorient her. Esther does not fit in with either of her friends: the rebellious Doreen or the conformist Betsy.

Returning home, Esther finds that she has not been accepted into a writing course she applied for, and this leads her to consider what choices she has in life. Thus begins a descent into depression, and a very personal form of madness.

It is easy to see autobiographical parallels with Sylvia Plath's own life. Perhaps too easy, and this can detract from a broader message of identity and belonging, which so many of us experience and can relate to. I first read part of this novel as a teenager, almost 40 years ago. I read it then as an autobiographical novel which, while it raised many of the questions I was considering myself, had no comfortable answers. Coming back to the novel now, I see that I wasn't looking past the tragedy of Sylvia Plath's own death to appreciate the writing for its own sake. While Ms Plath took her own life at age 30, that this was a (tragic) choice, not an inevitable outcome.

So, why read this novel now? It was published almost 50 years ago and while aspects of the setting reflect that, the underlying search for identity and purpose are timeless. For me, this is a novel worth reading twice.

Jennifer Cameron-Smith
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Gogs on July 11 2004
Format: Paperback
Don't be put off by the book's reputation as the story of a depressed not-quite-a-woman-not-a-girl protagonist--and certainly don't be put off by the fact that Sylvia Plath died very soon after writing the book. Although she is known primarily for her poetry, I've often thought that Bell Jar captured both her skill as a sharp poetess, but also her lesser-known sense of humor. The Bell Jar involves suicide attempts and mental institutions, but more importantly, it doesn't dwell on tragedy so much as cut through it. Plath's photographic depiction of what it is like to be thrust into adulthood and all the other things that aren't in childhood are equally important and remind the reader that the things that we experience are neither so beautiful nor ugly as they are absurd.
Whether or not you've ever been depressed, the Bell Jar captures not only the fear of nothing ever changing, but also the greater fear of things being different, twin processes which are, to me, at the heart of depression.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Soma on March 16 2002
Format: Paperback
Before reading "The Bell Jar," I read "Ariel," Plath's collection of poems that really address the climax of her depression with such great poems like "Daddy" and "Lady Lazarus." But it was only after I read "The Bell Jar," that I truly appreciated Plath's genius and sophistication as a writer. One of the reasons Plath was such a genius was her command of the English language. "The Bell Jar" does not read like a novel, but more like prose, which made the book a quick read.
"The Bell Jar" tells the story of Ester Greenwood, a young woman interning at a woman's magazine in New York City. The reader fully witnesses Ester's decent into depression and her institutionalization in a mental hospital. Like her poetry, "The Bell Jar" is semi - autobiographical and very emotional. Plath also leaves the ending of the novel ambiguous, I do not want to give the ending away but I will say this, do not expect any sort of resolution.
All in all, I would recommend this book to Plath fans and those who appreciate a clever, wonderfully written piece of literature.
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Format: Paperback
Having worked most of adult life in the field of mental health, I found this autobiographical novel to be quite disturbing. No, it is not because the author, herself, eventually committed suicide for that is the decision that person who see no other alternative to their life sometimes reach. The part that was troubling was not only the destructive attitude which she lived but her continual reinforcement of these attitudes in spite of the numerous persons who were there to guide her in a different direction. She was highly narcissistic and did little or nothing to remove herself from the spotlight of her own imaginings. There was no internal movement on her part towards self-examination and, thereby, examining alternatives to her destructive, selfish thought patterns. She went through the various levels of treatment as if she were a mere character in a public play in which she played a role but never fully understood the depth of the character nor the implications that this role had on her personal life. Likewise, her personal single mindedness never seemed to have her question what effect her suicide would have on her children or husband. That is quite unusual. It was as if she no longer could get an institution to fund her life quests and, therefore, her life was useless and, therefore, should be ended without pomp nor circumstance. Lastly, clients with which I have dealt who had suicidal ideations have had longstanding chronic patterns of depression (which were lacking with this author) and none had the positive social nor familial connections that she did. These clients, truly, worked very diligently to move beyond these thoughts and perceive the world in a manner which would provide them with hope and meaning and, therefore, continued to live life in a far healthier manner.
Dare I say that the author committed suicide in order to attain the literary accolades that she could not attain in her lifetime? It is quite possible............
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