The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath

Bookshelf , 5 May 2014

The Bell Jar / Sylvia Plath

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A book discussing the big themes of depression and suicide released in 1963 (mere months before its author killed herself) was always going to go down in history. Sylvia Plath’s only novel, it’s been on my bookshelf for some time but I shied away from reading in part due to its notoriety and in part because, having read English Literature at uni, I still relish reading purely for pleasure after years of prescribed books and assumed this would be torturous (or at the very least extremely dark and depressing).

My preconceptions did not serve me well on this one. Though serious in subject matter, the story is masterfully told. The voice of the protagonist is spellbinding and at once dark, witty and unerringly honest. This book is the best possible kind of establishment literature read and has (to risk a cliché) impacted me in the way few do.

‘It seemed silly to wash one day when I would only have to wash again the next. It made me tired just to think of it.’

‘The silence depressed me. It wasn’t the silence of silence. It was my own silence.’

The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath, £5.99 at


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