I’m trying to recall when exactly I learned who Sylvia Plath was and what she was about. I am inclined to fess up that I didn’t know a thing* about her until book-blogging; specifically learning about books I *should* have already read by now. But I don’t know. Perhaps, I knew the sensational stuff – – that she was a poet who killed herself young, as a mother of two little ones. But I really can’t say; it’s fuzzy.
I’ve had The Bell Jar on my to-be-read list for years (I’ve been blogging over 4 years already? huh.)
I knew it was a novel and that she usually wrote poetry. (Actually, she wrote children’s books, too.) But I didn’t realize all that I would encounter in this short book. It was everything I hazily imagined it would be (startling thoughts by a young woman when it was not the time (1950s) to expect startling thoughts by young women) and I thought it would showcase depression. AND THAT IS ALL I KNEW. So it was NOTHING like what I expected!
I read this in one day. If I had realized how fast I would devour this, I would have read it a long time ago.
Or, perhaps, it was the perfect time for me to read? Who can question when and why some books come into our life. I am just glad that I didn’t read this during one of my darkest days of college when I hated school, hated my major, was devoid of hope and felt like the whole concept of what I was supposed to be doing was just a crock of s%&#.
Then again. I think this book does has hope. I thought the ending and/or the last line brilliant! But, it’s knowing now that Plath didn’t hold on to her hopes to quite escape her bell jar that is frightening.
A big thank you to Frances McCullough for a fantastic Foreword and thank you to the publishers for including the bit about Plath in the back of the book. These parts book-end the heart of the novel in such a wonderful manner.
I rarely read Forewords. This one is perfect.
Five slices of pie.
* I had never heard of Virginia Woolf, either. What were they teaching in my high school?!