Thursday, July 10, 2014

Currently Reading: The Bell Jar

Remember when I said that Ficciones was not an easy read? It's not an easy read, it is hard. I'm struggling and I'm almost ashamed to say I am setting it aside. There are so many books that I still want to read that I don't want to get bogged down by one that I just can't pull myself through. I'll pick it up again one day but for now I have moved on and oh, what a great book I have moved on to.

I feel like this book is one that all girls should read at whatever point in their lives. I'm surprised it has taken me this long to finally read but I think I am at the age where I can appreciate it more thoroughly.

The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath follows the path of Esther Greenwood, a Smith college student who suffers from depression and mental illness. The story begins when Esther is living in New York City and working at a magazine during the summer before her final year of college. That plot would be story enough, but Plath takes us through Esther's life when she returns home to Massachusetts for the rest of her summer during which time her mental state continues to decline.

I'm over halfway through the book at this point because it is impossible to put down. This morning I had to force myself to get out of bed, not because I was tired but because I just wanted to lay there all day and read about Esther.

The depiction of the way her brain works is clearly drawn and makes her depression understandable. Her suicide attempts are extremely detailed and almost excruciating to read, you feel for her so deeply and you want to help but there's nothing you can do! It's painful but I think it's important for people to read, especially because these scenes are written by a woman who dealt with her own depression and internal demons.

I won't go in to much more detail so that I'm not repeating myself when I write a review once I finish the novel in it's entirety, but this book is very similar to Pamela Moore's Chocolates for Breakfast so if you enjoyed that, you will enjoy book too.

Again, this is a book that many, especially female English majors, have read by the time they hit their twenties and I think that's phenomenal. This is a book that everyone should get their hands. You will find yourself in Esther if you have ever dealt with depression. If you have never had to deal with mental illness, you will be shocked and awed at this depiction of it. I think that in the world today, there is so much discussion of mental illness, that it will do every well to have a great understanding of it. Reading this novel is the perfect way to begin to grasp this issue.

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