Saturday, 12 November 2011

The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath

ISBN: 9780571226160

This is the most real book I have ever read. It is alive and painfully honest. In this semi-autobiographical novel, Plath portrays what it is to be on the verge of entering into the world, through the eyes of 19-year-old Esther Greenwood, who is working in New York for the summer.

The plot oozes with the sense of needing to find a place in the world, of carving out a niche for oneself in a society that is increasingly success-oriented. Which 'fig' should Esther strive for: business woman or wife, mother or linguist, typist or writer? Or pleasing her mother? Each holds promise, but each option seems to close the door to all other possibilities. And each looks so tempting.

This is a work about first times, about putting one's toe in the water, about self-discovery. It is not a cheery read, especially given Plath's biography, but the true depiction of emotion and despair is so intricate that it grabs at you like the tendrils of a lonely octopus.

Rating: 9/10

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