Book Review: The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath

I had high hopes for this iconic feminist classic, and it failed me. Maybe it was because I didn’t find a secret to womanhood or any better understanding of psyche or it was because of all those experiences the main character had and said about herself and the surrounding society didn’t feel novel, new, and most importantly strange. That those same feelings of emptiness, inadequacy, and neuroticism are already in me. That all I heard with this book was bells ringing the same old tune.

As I write this, I understand that such an echo is valuable. That when Sylvia Plath wrote this, those feelings weren’t stated aloud. I know her work to be important and value it as it is, but when I read a book, I want to find something that makes me understand us humans, the world, or myself better, and that this book didn’t provide. That is not the books failing. I have arranged those themes and issues in my mind, knowing where they stem from. I don’t seem to be able to hold on anything of the book that is mine. The words keep slipping between my fingers, and the characters began to fade away.

Even when I say all that, I wouldn’t go back in time and stop myself listening to this book. It is an important book, and maybe it will teach me something I only find out later.

Now, what should I say to you dear reader about if you should pick up this book and read or listen to it? I wouldn’t steer you away from it. I think this is a book you should judge yourself to form your own thoughts. It might speak to you, anger you, sadden you, or make you feel indifferent. I cannot decide for you.

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