Bell Jar Audio Cassette – Audiobook, Jan 16 1997
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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includes a new foreword by the book's original editor, Frances McCullough; biographical notes; and eight previously unpublished drawings by Plath.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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Top Customer Reviews
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.
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.
"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.
The fact that the author continued page after page to throw all these problems at Esther could be considered an issue. Some reader's might think that maybe it was too much. Though if one were to see things in another light they could see it as the problems being stepping stones in life. Esther was climbing up but in reality she knew that sometimes you just have to start over for the best. Sylvia Plath proved in this book that you can fall rock bottom in your life and still be able to be on top once more.
Most recent customer reviews
Absolute genius from the one and only, Silvia Plath. This story gracefully outlines the battle against mental illness, and sheds light on a topic that for so many is a taboo... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Jaime Stephens
Having worked most of adult life in the field of mental health, I found this autobiographical novel to be quite disturbing. Read morePublished 8 months ago by Ronald W. Maron
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