The Bell Jar

the bell jar

I’m going to start this review on a somber note. May in the US celebrates Mental Health Awareness Month. Most of the world suffers from some form of mental illness whether mild or severe and many never get treated for one reason or another. Much of it comes from guilt, shame, or denial or plenty of other reasons but the outcome remains the same: a pain others can’t see. I’ve suffered from mental illness and many of my loved ones have. The Bell Jar helped me realize I wasn’t alone…

Esther Greenwood is a young woman who ought to feel on top of the world. From college she scored herself a much sought after internship at a women’s magazine and has come a long way from her roots in Boston. Unlike the others around her, she isn’t fascinated by the big city life. She feels stuck, unsure what to do or where to go after school and what the world could have in store for her except a life as a homemaker to please her nagging mother and marry a dude she barely likes basically because she’s expected to. One night she finds herself in a dark situation and Esther unravels, leading to suicide attempts and trips to the asylum and the barbaric treatments of the day, all alone, and misunderstood inside of her own personal jar…

The Bell Jar scared me. Deeply terrified me in fact. It wasn’t the fear of a monster or the supernatural that terrified me but how much I related to the feelings Esther portrayed. The book is beautifully written and the characters feel palpable through Esther’s eyes. The feelings she has feel justified and while sympathetic, by the end I rooted for her to find hope.  The ending I found even more tragic when the real life of Sylvia Plath was taken into account. In the end, The Bell Jar is a book every reader, writer, or anyone dealing with mental illness should read. Instead of our customary farewell, I urge anyone dealing with mental illness to seek help and best wishes; it’s Ok to not be Ok.

Author: torstenvblog

Writer of the strange and everything; lover of horror, literature, comics, and the alien is my spirit animal

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