The Bell Jar is the only novel that was published by Sylvia Plath. It was first published under a pseudonym “Victoria Lucas” in 1963, one month before Plath’s suicide by gassing herself with her head in the gas oven.
Sylvia herself suffered with depression, so it makes sense that that her lead character Esther Greenwood would suffer the same feelings of hopelessness and despair as the author. It is a semi-autobiography after all, one of the main reasons it was published under a pseudonym.
The book starts off with Esther going to New York in the summer on an internship at a popular women’s magazine to her unfortunate decline into a deep depression in a psychiatric hospital receiving electroshock therapy treatments after her attempted suicide by swallowing a bottle of sleeping pills.
The book was definitely dark, but there were some funny parts. Mainly when Esther was in the asylum and would fantasize about messing with the doctor’s heads I couldn’t help but laugh a little. It made me love the character a little more and lightened up the serious dark subject matter the book focuses on.
It is EXTREMELY rare for me to read a book more than once, and this is one of the very few I will more than likely read again.