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review 2018-07-08 11:06
Slipping into depression
The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath

The story of Ester Greenwood is the story of a young girl trying to find her place in life. She wins a scholarship to work at a fashion magazine in New York and strives to live the perfect life with perfect friends, perfect career aspirations, perfect looks, and a I want it all now mentality. But running alongside her desires is the slow onslaught of mental illness, and her sinking into hopelessness and despair. The more she descends the more the bell jar encases and surrounds her sapping her strength to break free.


This is quite a harrowing story make all the more real by the matter of fact unhurried story telling...."Wrapping my coat around me like my own sweet shadow, I unscrewed the bottle of pills and started taking them swiftly, between gulps of water, one by one. At first nothing happened but as I approached the bottom of the bottle, red and blue lights began to flash before my eyes. The bottle slid from my fingers and I lay down."........"I had locked myself in the bathroom, and run a tub full of warm water and taken out a Gillette blade".....The challenges of life the perception of people the need to be happy and successful all pale into insignificance when the body and mind shuts down as senses are overwhelmed.


Plath's writing explores the attitudes of society towards those who suffer from  mental illness and describes in some barbaric detail the use of electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) which is still used today as a means to relieve the symptoms of mental health...."I tried to smile but my skin had gone stiff, like parchment. Doctor Gordon was fitting two metal plates on either side of my head. He buckled them into place with a strap that dented my forehead, and gave me a wire to bite"......The Bell Jar appears semi biographical and to me is an attempt in part by the author to come to terms with her own mental issues. It is sad to note that one month after publication in the UK Sylvia Plath herself committed suicide by sticking her head in an oven in her London flat. It cannot help but make me wonder was the writing of The Glass Jar a cry for help and if so was it too little too late. The general tone and feeling of nihilism that prevails this book is best summed up in the following quote....."why I couldn't sleep and why I couldn't read and why I couldn't eat and why everything people did seemed so silly, because they only died in the end"......The Bell Jar is as powerful today as when it was first published and demands to be read if only to understand the human condition and to realize that mental health and the inevitable fallout is still very present in our everyday lives.

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review 2016-10-12 00:00
De glazen stolp
De glazen stolp - Sylvia Plath,René Kurp... De glazen stolp - Sylvia Plath,René Kurpershoek [b:The Bell Jar|6514|The Bell Jar|Sylvia Plath|https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1473890514s/6514.jpg|1385044] stond echt al eeuwen op mijn TBR, en afgelopen augustus heb ik de Nederlandse vertaling voor mijn verjaardag gekregen, dus kon ik eindelijk beginnen!

Dit boek is ontzettend makkelijk te lezen. De vertaling is goed, de schrijfstijl is prachtig poëtisch (logisch, [a:Sylvia Plath|4379|Sylvia Plath|https://images.gr-assets.com/authors/1373572652p2/4379.jpg] schreef vooral poëzie), en dit allemaal zorgt ervoor dat het een hele prettige leeservaring is.

Het meekijken in het hoofd van een vrouw met een depressie vond ik echt een hele fascinerende beleving. Terwijl er eigenlijk niks spannends gebeurt in dit boek, bleef het mij toch boeien.

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url 2016-09-20 14:56
Top Ten Tuesday: Books I'm glad I listened to
The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath,Maggie Gyllenhaal,HarperAudio
The Girl Who Wrote Loneliness: A Novel - Shin Kyung-sook,Jung Ha-Yun
Accidental Saints: Finding God in All the Wrong People - Nadia Bolz-Weber
The Yellow Wallpaper - Charlotte Perkins Gilman,Elaine Hedges
Euphoria: A Novel - Inc. Blackstone Audio, Inc.,Lily King,Xe Sands,Simon Vance
Etiquette & Espionage - Gail Carriger
Something Fierce: Memoirs of a Revolutionary Daughter - Carmen Aguirre
Rising Strong - Brené Brown
Girl in Translation - Jean Kwok,Grayce Wey,Penguin Audio
Dangerous Women - George R. R. Martin,Gardner Dozois,Scott Brick,Jonathan Frakes,Janis Ian,Stana Katic,Lee Meriwether,Emily Rankin,Harriet Walter,Jake Weber,Random House Audio

These are the top ten books I'm glad I listened to! I'm sure they would have nice to read too, but the narrators all these all added a little something to them. 


Check out the rest of the Broke and Bookish's TTT Audio Freebie!


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review 2016-07-13 00:00
The Bell Jar
The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath We begin with Esther Greenwood spending a summer month in New York acting as an editing intern at a fashion magazine along with a number of other young college women. Esther, it seems, is a very good student at one of the exclusive New England institutions for women. Likely, Smith College is the model, although it's not called out. But it's close enough to Yale for weekends mixing with the guys down there. I believe we're sometime in the 1950s: Eisenhower shows up in a magazine spread at one point.

When she gets home, Esther begins a downward spiral of depression and begins thinking about committing suicide, eventually making several attempts. She is sent off to a mental hospital. By the end of the book, she appears to be well enough to be released, but it's never completely clear.

It was kind of fun to be reminded about the social aspects of college life back in the olden days, how men or women had to travel to each other's schools for some social interaction. My older brother had to do that at Princeton. It confirmed for me that I had indeed made the proper decision to go to an co-educational school where all that artificial mingling would not be necessary. Of course, a few years after I graduated, pretty much everyone became co-ed, so such is no longer an issue. Anyway, an interesting trip down memory lane, so to speak.

On the other hand, this wasn't the best choice of a book for me to be reading. Reading about depression, suicide attempts, and "psychiatric treatment" [sic] are not things I want to confront. Psychiatry, even in the 21st century, is still basically a quack endeavor. The kind of psychiatry practiced in the 1950s, before there were decent anti-depression medications (many of which still aren't particularly efficacious), makes me want to punch rather a number of people. Still, the book was very well written. Plath was a well respected poet and her imagery and use of language is spectacular.
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review 2016-04-20 00:00
Ariel: The Restored Edition
Ariel: The Restored Edition - Frieda Hughes,Sylvia Plath If only she wrote more novels.
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