The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath. Recommended by Fiona (Whitefield Library and Reader Development Team).
The Bell Jar is Sylvia Plath’s account of a young woman’s breakdown. Renowned for its intensity and its vivid prose, the novel follows her attempted suicide, hospitilisation and recovery.
“I knew that this novel was about depression; it’s one of those books everyone seems to mention with a grimace. But I felt I had to read it because the first page was so beautifully descriptive and intriguing, and I was not disappointed; it’s a fascinating read.
It is the story of Esther Greenwood’s year in the bell jar – a suffocating, isolating space created by her depression, which leaves her feeling lethargic and misunderstood. It’s also a slice of early 1960’s New York life; parties, freebies, magazine editors and sometimes unpleasant dates, where you watch a young girl juggle the uncertainties she feels about the choices she has in life, both because she is talented and because of the limits society placed on girls at the time. The novel left me grateful for the way society has changed in women’s favour and also for the recent advances in mental health treatment. Definitely worth a read.” Fiona.