Monthly Archives: December 2012

The Bell Jar- Sylvia Plath


“Remember, remember, this is now, and now, and now. Live it, feel it, cling to it. I want to become acutely aware of all I’ve taken for granted.”

I finished The Bell Jar a few days ago but I needed to let everything sink in before I wrote about it properly. I have a asked a few people what they thought of this book and they all say “Oh my god, it was so depressing.” Even my boyfriend, who has never actually read the book, had heard that it was a very sad read. The cover of the book even says:

“The heartbreaking story of a talented young woman who descends into madness.”

Yes, it is a bit sad at times, but I would be hard pressed to not find a young woman who hasn’t had at least some of these thoughts. Granted I feel it was more of a taboo to talk of such things in the 60’s and maybe that is why people label this book as “so depressing”. Now, lets get one thing straight, I am not trying to make light of suicide. That bit I agree is rather sad, but the part that gets the tears welling up in my eyes is the fact that she had no one to talk to. Even people she may call “friend” or “doctor”, people she should be able to trust.

In the end I must say that I enjoyed this book. It is one that I had been interested in reading for awhile and was happy that it was on “The List”. Sylvia Plath’s writing is so readable you almost feel like an intruder into her own mind. After finishing the book I read some where that The Bell Jar is semi-autobiographical, which adds a layer of sadness. The book has a far more uplifting end. Sylvia Plath is nothing short of a genius with words and in her passing lies the real tragedy of The Bell Jar.

“To the person in the bell jar, blank and stopped as a dead baby, the world itself is the bad dream.”

Atonement- Ian McEwan


“From this new and intimate perspective, she learned a simple, obvious ting she had always known, and everyone knew: that a person is, among all else, a material thing, easily torn, not easily mended.”

Well, it has finally happened…I was not a fan of this book. I may have jinxed myself though, because I didn’t like the movie either. I try to separate the books from their movie counterparts, if there is one, but I simply couldn’t with this one. They were exactly the same.

Atonement tells the tale of Briony Tallis who witnesses a few things she is not supposed to, as many young girls do, and comes to a conclusion that ends up ruining the lives of two people close to her. Her sister, Cecilia, and a boy that her father (for all intents and purposes) adopts, Robbie. Not one of the voices in the book really captured my attention, in fact I thought most of them a little annoying. The mother, Emily, has two chapters devoted to her and nothing really comes out of them except you learn more about her headaches and they elude to the fact that her husband may be having an affair. The only bit I did liked was when Robbie was writing the letter to Cecilia, the one that eventually leads to his undoing, in his cottage on the Tallis property.

I kept thinking to myself: “it’ll pick up…it has to.” The only time it really did go anywhere was when Briony is a little older and working as a nurse in a hospital during the war, and even then not a whole lot happens. Everything is very “behind the veil”. Which doesn’t make you really care about these characters, at all. I found both Tallis sisters a tad annoying right off the bat and that didn’t really change. Robbie I liked for a bit, but then you get to the end and I found myself not liking I’m at all either. You find him much changed from the war, but he seems like a completely different person. Talking in very short sentences and letting anger get the best of him.

I read on the back of the book Ian McEwen compared to Jane Austen and I agree to a very small extent. In the way he describes the surroundings,yes I agree, but it is in the way his characters don’t make you feel for their predicaments that I disagree. By the end of a Jane Austen novel you are sad to leave her world and her characters, but I was not upset to close this book and leave Briony and her world behind.