The Bell Jar: Review

6514The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
Genre: Classics, Feminist Fiction
Publication: 2006 by Harper Perennial Modern Classics (first published January 1963)
Source: Purchased
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Rating: ✵✵✵✵✵

Sylvia Plath’s shocking, realistic, and intensely emotional novel about a woman falling into the grip of insanity.

Esther Greenwood is brilliant, beautiful, enormously talented, and successful, but slowly going under—maybe for the last time. In her acclaimed and enduring masterwork, Sylvia Plath brilliantly draws the reader into Esther’s breakdown with such intensity that her insanity becomes palpably real, even rational—as accessible an experience as going to the movies. A deep penetration into the darkest and most harrowing corners of the human psyche, The Bell Jar is an extraordinary accomplishment and a haunting American classic.


Oh, shit balls! should I be worried about how much I saw of myself in Esther Greenwood? a character that Plath based on herself.

Farrrrrrrrrk, this was one of the darkest and most beautiful things I’ve ever read. At one point I chuckled out loud and thought to myself “I f***ing love her” (the main character), but for the most part it was all too real and even a little disturbing.

I picked this book up, just looking at it as I was rearranging my collection. It’s one of those classic must reads that’s been on my TBR list forever. I hadn’t meant to start reading. I was just reading the introduction about its publication journey (which was fascinating) and then the next thing I know I’m sitting on the lounge and had devoured the first two chapters. I was captivated. I’ve never read any of Plath’s poetry before. I own a collection, same thing, been on my TBR list forever. So her writing was a whole new world to me.

Sometimes while reading this book a feeling of dread would wash over me. Other times I would scoff to myself and think “she’s f***ing hilarious”. Damn it was compulsive reading. The story, the writing, the words, the girl, sucked me in. What a roller-coaster.

I found myself thinking: I am this woman. She is darkness and she rages and reveals in it. I saw so much of myself in Esther Greenwood. The only other time I’ve ever really seen myself in a character was Clancy, from Clancy of The Undertow by Christopher Currie – which is a very different book to this one.

A lot of people might find this book disturbing/depressing. But I found a powerful dark beauty to it and it made me feel less alone. It justified the fears and disdain I felt while pregnant with my first born and that I continue to feel in this world as a modern woman.

Thanks for visiting The Adventures of SacaKat.
Until next time, enjoy your shelves :-).

Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte

Synopsis:

Wuthering Heights is a wild, passionate story of the intense and almost demonic love between Catherine Earnshaw and Heathcliff, a foundling adopted by Catherine’s father. After Mr Earnshaw’s death, Heathcliff is bullied and humiliated by Catherine’s brother Hindley and wrongly believing that his love for Catherine is not reciprocated, leaves Wuthering Heights, only to return years later as a wealthy and polished man. He proceeds to exact a terrible revenge for his former miseries. The action of the story is chaotic and unremittingly violent, but the accomplished handling of a complex structure, the evocative descriptions of the lonely moorland setting and the poetic grandeur of vision combine to make this unique novel a masterpiece of English literature.

 

My Thoughts:

Almost demonic!! Their love is demonic, especially on Heathcliff’s side.

At times the book is filled with pointless ramblings and unlovable characters, but still you find you are compelled to read it till the end.

This is the second time I’ve read Wuthering Heights. The first time was when I was fifteen and now again at twenty seven. I’m glad I’ve read it a second time, I definitely appreciated it more and sometime down the track, perhaps in another twelve years, I’ll read it again.

While I was reading it I hated Heathcliff and Catherine but when all was said and done and I was reflecting to write this review I found myself growing fonder of them. I guess it would be wrong to hate them because their behaviour when it was there surroundings that made them behave so, BUT I really don’t want to excuse their disgusting behaviour.

This is definitely not a knight in shining armour love story or a light and happy one. Maybe because it’s not fairy tale it’s more true to real life? Because love can hurt and families can be horrid to one another. The real world sucks so I like my books to create an escape to a better place.

For me to fall in love with a book, I have to fall in love with the characters or at least like them.

I loved Elizabeth & Jane Bennet (oh and that divine Mr Darcy) so I Loved Pride & Prejudice.

I’ve got a thing for that power house Jack Reacher and hence enjoy Mr Child’s Reacher series.

Hell I even fell in love with Bella Swan, Edward Cullen and Jacob Black.

But what does Ms Bronte give us;

Heathcliff – Manic Evil Psychopath. He really is the main character for the most part. We find out all about his long twisted love affair and his sick fancy to destroy the happiness of everyone around him. I mean come on, the sick bastard gets Catherine’s coffin opened up eighteen years after her death just to look at her What The F#*k! Who does that? A crazy psychopath called Heathcliff driven by a demonic love, that’s who!!

Catherine (the 1st) – Well she isn’t much better than Heathcliff. She’s given everything under the sun and still carries on like a little bitch.

Edgar Linton – A bland stupid but sweet man

Hindley Earnshaw – Weak drunken waste of a man

Mr Lockwood – Nosy busybody, who the story could do without completely. He really is pointless! Just let Nelly tell the story without him at all. The dude moves into a new area and then sets about harassing his maid to give him all the gossip on his landlord and the Wuthering Heights residents. Yeah and that’s the whole premise for the retelling of the story.

Joseph – (I dislike this character the most) Mean spirited long winded god fearing douche bag without a heart.

Isabella Linton – Stupid stupid girl

Linton Heathcliff – Scared sickly traitorous whingeing wretch

The only characters to deserve compassion are: Nelly ‘Ellen’ Dean, Catherine (the 2nd) and Hareton Earnshaw – thank goodness they get a happy ending.

Now I’m being very harsh, I did actually enjoying reading this story and once it was over and I was reflecting on it, I decided I did in fact LIKE the book and yes one day I would read it again LOL.

So yes I did enjoy it, but I really can’t pin point why! I can bitch about the things that irked me. I can understand Cathy and Heathcliff, but I can’t love them. It’s nice to end with Nelly, Hearton and Cathy coming together. The last three or four chapters about them make reading the book worthwhile, at least that is how I felt after I immediately finished reading it. But still I’m drawn back to thinking about Heathcliff and Cathy. I will admit if I wasn’t for all the dark, hatred and mistreatment throughout the story the ending wouldn’t have been so light, happy and wished for.

I think this book will always sit uneasily with me. I can’t decide if its 2 stars (it was ok) 3 stars (I liked it) or 4 stars (I really liked it) – It’s definitely not 1 star hate it or 5 star Love it, so at least I can narrow it down LOL. But I did like it so I’ll just go with 3 stars and leave it at that.

WOW I think I ramble on a bit too much here :-I my apologies people.