The Bell Jar – by Sylvia Plath

15 04 2022

One of those books that you buy ‘cos you know you should read it at some point. I knew it had something to do with depression, but didn’t know much else about it…

It’s the 1950s, and Esther is a promising college student on a summer internship at a magazine in New York with a group of other girls. This fills roughly the first half of the book; after this she is rejected from a writing class which she was hoping to fill the rest of her summer break with, and so goes home to her mum’s, which is when the severity of her depression becomes evident and rapidly spirals.

This book needs to come with a whole load of trigger warnings; the second half contains several varied suicide attempts, some described in fair detail. Esther is eventually sent off to an asylum and begins her recovery, but this is NOT an uplifting book! This whole second half is a really miserable and difficult read, understandably, and while yes this is a very well written book and had me picking it up it a lot, it was a relief to be finished and get to read something more positive.

The title threw me for a long time. It wasn’t until page 178 of this 234 page edition that the phrase was used! Once it was, it made sense, but I didn’t get the link until then, might just have been my ignorance!

The story was left on a cliff-hanger as she entered an interview with the doctors to determine whether she would be allowed back to college. While it was left hanging more artistically than expecting a sequel, we would never find out Esther’s fate as sadly, Plath committed suicide herself just a month after the book was published in 1963.



One response

23 04 2022
The Comfort Book – by Matt Haig |

[…] good, it’s certainly what I needed after the misery of The Bell Jar last week, but something felt lacking. I wonder if this is just because I was expecting too much, […]

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