I was honored to write a quick blog post about one of my favorite novels for That Bookish Boy, a book blog about what we should read and when! I posted a snippet below, but read the whole thing here. Thanks for the invite, Michael!
The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
When I think of my favorite books growing up, I think of lamp light and late nights. Reading was always the one thing my sister and I could do in our small shared bedroom once bedtime began, and we would each stay up well past curfew to get in the last few chapters of Harry Potter or Little House on the Prairie. We read so many stories under the covers with flashlights, but none sticks out more to me than my memories of reading The Bell Jar. Making notes and underlining passages in the worn paperback copy my mother bought at the dime store, this book mystified me as much as it understood me. Even though The Bell Jar was published a good 45 years before I read it, it still felt as relevant and vibrant as ever.
Surprise! A 23-year-old white girl is into Sylvia Plath.
But let’s be real: It’s a great book. The plot, the language and imagery, our main character, the exotic story connecting Esther to Plath’s own personal mental breakdown and eventual suicide — it makes for an exciting and touching read in just 200 pages.
The mystery surrounding the novel probably goes back to Plath’s death, which occurred just one month after the novel was published in England in 1963. The semi-autobiographical nature of The Bell Jar, in association with Plath’s suicide, makes the story even more alluring and even darkly romantic. But it’s the story of the central character Esther Greenwood that continues to bring readers, especially young women, to the pages of Plath’s only novel.
Read the whole thing at Michael’s great blog! New posts coming soon!