Tuesday, September 20, 2016

The Classics Club: The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath

(about the Classics Club)


This is another book that I've intended to read for some time.  I'm not sure how I missed reading it or being assigned to read it in high school, but somehow I did.  I've seen a lot of references to it lately on Instagram, so I thought now was a good time to read it.

I compared it to both Breakfast at Tiffany's  (which I disliked) and to Catcher in the Rye.  The beginning, when Esther is in New York, is what Breakfast at Tiffany's should have been.

As for comparing it to Catcher in the Rye. . . there is no comparison.  Salinger is a much better writer than Plath, with a better ability to draw the reader into the narrative.  Both are written from the first person point of view, but I found the Bell Jar to be boring at times, and yet Catcher in the Rye kept me riveted (during a reread).

I expected to be wowed by this book.  I expected to feel connected to Esther and to take her journey personally--after all, I do have some experiences in common with her.  I didn't though.  She did not appeal to me as a character; I barely sympathized with her.  I felt blase about her and her bell jar.  I certainly didn't react to her the way I did to Holden Caulfield.

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