Friday, 4 April 2014

Book Review: The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath



I've just finished reading The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath and thought I should try and write down all of my thoughts and feelings about it before they take over my mind and I can't even think.

The novel could be a life changer for someone who's never experienced anything similar to the protagonist, Esther, and for those who can make connections, it's quite the eye opener, to an extent actually helping you understand how you feel/felt.

The thing is, I can't help but feel like nothing really happened. Don't get me wrong, I think it's a great book, but when I thought about it, it was just a series of events that didn't really lead to anything. Obviously, Esther continually attempting to commit suicide is a big thing, and ultimately that was what the novel was building up to, and then her recovery, but I just feel like everything was so emotionally disconnected that it almost read like a list of events at points. I think it was like a bell jar. An empty bell jar with nothing inside of it, no emotions on the inside, and just things that happen, academic achievements, on the outside. And I think the reason I enjoyed the book so much is because we all feel like that sometimes; but for some people, they are a sample inside the jar, like the flower in Beauty and the Beauty, out in the world doing things and feeling things, feeling love and beauty, being indulgent in their lives; and for others, they're the jar: what's left behind of the things that happen to others. Just a cover with the only purpose being to enclose things, perhaps emotions. And you're left with nothing so much that you stop caring about the possibility of going and doing something, feeling something, for yourself. You're just empty, making little sound other than when someone brushes past you on the way to the rest of their life. Like even though you may have a million things to say, you remain mute. You are the secondary factor or reaction, the effect of something else for someone else. Sometimes I feel like that.
And I think that's what made me fall in love with the book.
I feel I can empathise with Esther, especially in the way that no one really seemed to understand her or make that much of an effort to do so, even when she's considered 'sane.'

The writing style was rather colloquial, making it very easy to get into and engage with; it was just like words falling off of Plath's tongue, seamless and effortless. But filled with disguised pain.

I would recommend this book to everyone and anyone. It involves a number of sensitive issues regarding mental health, but even if you find that somewhat off-putting, it's still worth the read. I loved the book and I'm sure I'll end up reading it again fairly soon.


Until next time.

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