The Bell Jar
by Sylvia Plath
Paperback- $12.23

A Special Paperback Edition to Commemorate the Fiftieth Anniversary of the Publication of Sylvia Plath's Remarkable Novel

Sylvia Plath's ...

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  "Deep book that kept us talking" by nr55 (see profile) 04/03/09

There are so many amazing elements in this book that kept our women talking for hours about the many different symbolisms. Being as the book is so dark, I would reccomend this book for the more mature audiences. I could debate the intent of this book for hours. Very good discussion book.

 
  "Sad, sad, sad...." by shelbymomof2 (see profile) 07/22/09

Very quick read. Quite depressing subject matter. You literally experience the "descent into madness" with the author as the book progresses. She paints a bleak picture of mental health care in the 1950s. Of course, take with a grain of salt as the picture is altered by the main character's skewed perception due to her mental state. I don't whole-heartedly recommend this book for a book club, as it is not a fun book to read. If your club has an interest in mental illness, however, this is worth the time.

 
  "Very good book!" by rdfstrong (see profile) 01/31/11

 
  "Brilliant but depressing" by 1morechapter (see profile) 02/14/11

This quasi-autobiographical novel by Sylvia Plath certainly gives insight about her mental illness. It’s a fascinating peek into the author’s troubled mind.

Esther Greenwood (a thinly veiled Sylvia) is bright and appears to have it all, but why and where did her life go wrong? It seemingly begins when she is rejected for a writing class at the same time she is having relationship problems. Her downward spiral is swift. Esther demands much of herself and of others, and when perfection is not attainable, she cannot accept it.

This book was a quick read, and I know I will be reading it again at some point as it is very compelling. I’ve twice seen the movie Sylvia starring Gwyneth Paltrow, and I definitely believe it added to my appreciation of the book.
I saw my life branching out before me like the green fig tree in the story.

From the tip of every branch, like a fat purple fig, a wonderful future beckoned and winked. One fig was a husband and a happy home and children, and another fig was a famous poet and another fig was a brilliant professor, and another fig was EeGee, the amazing editor, and another fig was Europe and Africa and South America, and another fig was Constantin and Socrates and Attila and a pack of other lovers with queer names and offbeat professions, and another fig was an Olympic lady crew champion, and beyond and above these figs were many more figs I couldn’t quite make out.

I saw myself sitting in the crotch of this fig tree, starving to death, just because I couldn’t make up my mind which of the figs I would choose. I wanted each and every one of them, but choosing one meant losing all the rest, and, as I sat there, unable to decide, the figs began to wrinkle and go black, and, one by one, they plopped to the ground at my feet.

 
  "Great Writing...so sad she couldn't write more" by johna124 (see profile) 06/25/11

I took my time reading The Bell Jar. Knowing that this book was basically her autobiography I didn't want to rush it and miss something. It is very poignantly written by an obviously tortured soul. If she hadn't lived it, I think it would have been a completely different story. Because she lived it we have the unbelievably detailed story of her decent into numb darkness and the treatments she had to undergo before assimilating back into society.

 
  "Not as depressing as others might think" by olenahuffmire (see profile) 01/27/12

The book is very interesting, very well written, kept me reading, but it was not as gloomy as I expected it to be. It was very clear in depicting the whole picture, so I was not confused at any part of the book.

 
  "Bell Jar provides interesting discussion" by samantha. (see profile) 08/02/12

The Bell Jar, while some found it easy to put down the topics discussed were not as dark and nerve wracking as many summaries described. Great insight into a 1950's college-aged woman's life and expected path. This book was extremely confusing since Sylvia Plath jumped from scene to scene without completing her thoughts or descriptions. The Bell Jar provides for a great discussion because the writer is so hard to follow, as well as the topics discussed (shock therapy, suicide, sex, marriage, etc).

 
  "Overall, a good read that provoked discussion" by HM384 (see profile) 10/25/12

Though it was very dark, most of our book club members really liked this book and we would definitely recommend it to others.

 
  "Couldn't Have Cared Less" by MrsSutton (see profile) 09/23/13

 
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