The Bell Jar – Sylvia Plath


Chosen by Suzy

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

◉ “I came to this novel fairly fresh, with very little prior knowledge of the author or plot. Obviously I’ve been hiding under a rock! I read the novel not knowing the events of Sylvia Plath’s short and tragic life so the research was a real revelation for me. The themes of sexuality, repression, family ties and mental health are as relevant today as they were back then. A completely devastating read at times, but for me it was ultimately an uplifting story which I will be recommending to my daughter in a few year’s time. My favourite lines in the novel: “I took a deep breath and listened to the old brag of my heart. I am, I am, I am.” – Suzy

◉ “I read this book when I was about 13 or 14 and took it as a token and a right of passage. Upon re-reading it as a 30-something year old mother my sympathies and feelings have shifted. The book now is more devastating and less exhilarating. RIP Sylvia Plath.” – Sophia

◉ “What stood out to me in this book was the oppressive society in which Ester Greenwood (and Sylvia Plath) lived. The expectation that Ester would confirm to societal “norms” was poles apart from her desire to be her own woman and in the 60s, as we all know, this opposition was a view held by many women. It was desperately sad what Ester (and Plath) went through in regards to their growing depression, but what great bravery to put this to paper at this time in history. A life altering book that reminds me what our forebears challenged in order to create change.” – Rachel

Published 1963
244 pages


A selfie from evening 1 of bookclub reunion:

Back row L-R: Sonya, Nicole, Suzy, Sophia
Front row L-R: Rachel, Jo, Nadine
Absent: Becks, Ros

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