As someone with a minor in English and a penchant for writing, I am thoroughly ashamed of the fact that I have never read The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath. Obviously, I have learned quite a bit about Plath and her bouts with depression and suicide attempts [and eventually successful suicide] and her poetry. Hauntingly beautiful poetry about the saddest feelings a human being can experience. I honestly assumed that The Bell Jar was a memoir, a non-fiction account of her own demons, but this is Plath’s one and only novel, fiction.
The novel follows Esther Greenwood’s decent from normality into a deep depression, much like Sylvia Plath herself. It sounds like an entirely too melancholy novel, but it really wasn’t. Esther is calm in her dismissal of the joyous happenstances of life and there is something admirable in her distaste for the small lives most people live. It’s not the way I feel about life, but is still an interesting portrayal.