that I am completely done with my Summer Reading--OOPS. excuse me...SR! Now, you can proceed with the sighs of relief because I know I have! Now I can read anything I want. W00T!
Now, Let us continue...
Esther Greenwood is brilliant, beautiful, enormously talented, and successful, but slowly going under--maybe for the last time. In her acclaimed and enduring masterwork, Sylvia Plath brilliantly draws the reader into Esther's breakdown with such intensity that her insanity becomes palpably real, even rational--as accessible as going to the movies. A deep penetration into the darkest and most harrowing corners of the human psyche, The Bell Jar is an extraordinary accomplishment and a haunting American Classic.
The synopsis above is from my copy of The Bell Jar, and is correct in so many ways, but in some ways, it doesn't know the half of it. I know that Esther would say the same because I've gotten to know her very well over the past week or so I was reading The Bell Jar.
Esther Greenwood, in my eyes, is everything that the above synopsis says she is, and more. She is an aspiring author, but instead is working at a magazine that she doesn't seem to fit into. The novel opens with Esther with her other magazine girls in New York City, and she is mesmerized by everything in this city which is far from her hometown in Boston. It's terrifying, because everything seems almost normal for Esther in New York. If you didn't know that Esther was going to lose her mind, you'd think that this was just another...Sex & The City type book set in the 50's or 60's. The book goes back and forth from Esthers present and past and sometimes can get confusing, but it helps you understand her more. They take you through incidents in Esther's life that could have contributed to her depression, such as her relationship with Buddy Willard, the symbol of the All American 50's boy that Esther always thought she wanted, but realizes she doesn't and her relationship with her mother, which isn't exactly loving. I think mostly, it all boils down to Esther not feeling like she is her own woman. Esther explains all of these incidents so vividly that it's like it's happening right in front of you. Eventually, Esther winds up being forced into asylum after asylum, and has to get shock treatments, much to her horror. Her depression is so deep that she cannot read, which is something that she usually enjoyed, and when she writes, it only comes out "jibberish".
On the book jacket, there is a quote that explains the experience of reading "Bell Jar"
"The first-person narrative fixes us there, in the doctor's office, in the asylum, in the madness, with no reassuring vacations when we can keep company with the sane and listen to their lectures." - Washington Post Book World.
Reading "The Bell Jar" is an experience. That's the only way for me to put it. And it's an experience that I won't soon forget, and an experience that I hope to have again.
I loved the Bell Jar so much, and so I give it: 5 Stars *****