I think I genuinely scared my school librarian the day I asked her for a sad read and when she suggested the Bell Jar I told her that I wanted something sadder. In my defense it looked like a pretty innocuous book and there was no reference on the blurb to anything sad happening, at least in that edition there wasn't It was only a few months later when, in the end, I came to reading it.
By the time I finished the book I understood why I had been threatened with pastoral care being gotten involved when I had asked for something worse. As a semi-autobiographical novel of Plath’s it was never going to be the most cheery read.
The Bell Jar is a story of a young girl, Esther, who has a breakdown. That's the short version. But you also hear about the lead up. It sounds like it is a depressing and sad read and, yes, I think that I would agree there but then again it also has some moments of light heartedness. Hearing about Doreen and 'Pollyanna', Esther's friends is definitely a good bit and Doreen is definitely a strong, amazing almost character. The type to do all the things you shouldn't and it really gives the book another dimension having such colorful friends.
Esther is such a strong character despite everything and to me that is so important. I know that sounds strange, especially as its about a breakdown to describe her as strong but I would say she is. Esther knows her mind yet she doesn't; she is like so many people who don't know what they want or how to achieve it and it freaks them out. And she changes and I love it. It is so boring in a book where the characters don't change or go anywhere and she does, she changes so so much and yet you can always believe that she is the same person.
It’s not just what happens in the book that makes it so good though, in a way it is the writing style that either brings it to life, yet I think that it’s a writing style that you are either going to love or hate. Because the book is semi-autobiographical the style again reminds me of an autobiography yet a hundred times better because it has that added detail and perhaps a sense of freedom; after all it was published under a pseudonym and as a novel so Plath could say what she wanted without feeling bad, but then again maybe it's just me.
I know that I haven't actually said much about what happens, but I don't want to give anything away and it's so hard not to especially with the famous life or should I say death of Sylvia Plath. All I'm going to say is I found the ending particularly poignant and ironic in a sad way given Plath's suicide some years later.
Read it, it's an amazing book and I love it, even if you aren't into that type of thing I'd say it's a form of classic and one of those books you have to read before you get much older. Dare I say 5 stars?