Tuesday, April 9, 2013

The Bell Jar - Book Review

From Goodreads:
Esther Greenwood is brilliant, beautiful, enormously talented, and successful, but slowly going under--maybe for the last time. In her acclaimed and enduring masterwork, Sylvia Plath brilliantly draws the reader into Esther's breakdown with such intensity that her insanity becomes palpably real, even rational--as accessible an experience as going to the movies. A deep penetration into the darkest and most harrowing corners of the human psyche, The Bell Jar is an extraordinary accomplishment and a haunting American classic.

I've heard great things about The Bell Jar so naturally I wanted to read it. Let me say this. I did not love this book. I won't read it again. I do however give Sylvia a lot of credit for writing in a way that really takes you inside the deteriorating mind of Esther. It happens so slowly that you don't see it coming right away. I had two problems with the book. One was the pacing. The first part of the book is incredibly slow. It is basically building a back story on Esther and giving you an idea of her personality and how she lives her life. It's really about 10 chapters of Esther moping and complaining.

Like I said the book is very well written. I think if the beginning had been more interesting I would have been more invested in the story. I felt like I just kept waiting for something to happen. The second issue I had was how I felt about Esther. It is hard to really like her. As soon as you notice that something isn't quite right with Esther the story picks up and moves along at a better pace. Even though it becomes more interesting I still didn't care much for her so it was hard for me to relate to how she was feeling and enjoy the rest of the book.

I wanted to like this book but it just didn't end up that way.


  1. I've always wanted to go back and read some classic literature. I don't know if this would be considered a classic but I've heard it is good. Great review!

  2. I had started this book a while back but just didn't like it, so I put it down.

  3. I've never read The Bell Jar but it's always been on my list as one of those ones I should read, but I feel like I might think the same thing you did about it.

  4. Sounds like one to avoid! I hate books that you are waiting for something to happen and it just doesnt. Very disappointing!


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