I read the book – so here’s the review. (SPOILERS.)
Sorry, but I think that if you haven’t read books such as the Bell Jar, then you’ve probably either recognized Sylvia Plath’s name from her poetry or from her tragic fate.
The Bell Jar was published shortly before her death, and it tells the story of Esther Greenwood’s slump into depression and near-suicide. I knew this book by reputation, and it exceeded my expectations. Any sort of nervous disorder in the past has always been shunted out the way, and it was treated as if it didn’t exist. Any inconvenience or problem was hushed up.
The bits in the book about Esther’s time at the magazine were interesting, but what struck me most were the sections about Esther’s depression and the thoughts going through her head. Now, I have never been clinically depressed but I can understand how difficult it must be for those who feel that they can’t cope. In the 21st century, psychiatric care has improved.
Sylvia’s work is stark, almost clinical and the indifferent way that it talks about psychiatric procedures such as lobotomies is quite startling. The book over all has a happy-ending and we hope that Esther got her happy ending too because it is sad that Sylvia was dead just weeks after this masterpiece was published.