Review: The Bell Jar

The Bell Jar Sylvia Plath Harper Perennial

I am genuinely surprised that I’d enjoyed The Bell Jar this much. The first time I tried reading it was back in 2018 but couldn’t continue after just a few chapters. It really affected my mood, and maybe that’s because I wasn’t in the best place emotionally speaking back then. But now that has changed, and I’m glad I decided to give this book a second chance!

Despite being a rather sad story about Esther Greenwood going mad with depression (and possibly schizophrenia), her peculiar retellings and personality have made her a memorable character for me. Mental health is a topic that’s greatly discussed nowadays, but it wasn’t so much in the ’60s when it was first published. And while most of us stay informed, only a handful undergo severe conditions like the one Sylvia Plath recounted.

In addition to the psychological side of this novel, here Plath goes beyond and shares common experiences, misconceptions, and doubts that many young women go through while entering womanhood.

Despite being a little over 200 pages long, here the reader will experiment alongside Esther, all sorts of emotions — from funny moments to very gruesome ones. The quality of Sylvia Plath’s writing makes it all palpable and real, being simple yet beautiful.

I can officially say it has become a new favorite of mine, and it won’t be my last time reading it.

“I felt very still and very empty, the way the eye of a tornado must feel, moving dully along in the middle of the surrounding hullabaloo.”

Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar

Overall rating: 4/5

* Trigger warning: suicide

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