The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath

The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath

I read The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath to complete my 2015 special reading challenge for a book written by someone under the age thirty when it was written.


It is an intense novel and one that seems hellish upon review. I gave this book five stars.

It has a sharp hook in the beginning. I could relate to the description of the scent of the subway.


"It was a QUEER, sultry summer, the summer they electrocuted the Rosenbergs, and I didn't know what I was doing in New York. I'm stupid about executions. The idea of being electrocuted makes me sick, and that's all there was to read about in the papers -- goggle-eyed headlines staring up at me on every street corner and at the fusty, peanut-smelling mouth of every subway.


It had nothing to do with me, but I couldn't help wondering what it would be like, being burned alive all along your nerves.


I thought it must be the worst thing in the world. New York was bad enough."


The protagonist is rooming at the Amazon in New York with a dozen other girls on the same floor. She can relate to Doreen. "Doreen had intuition. Everything she said was like a secret voice speaking straight out of my own bones."


After seeing Doreen drunk and falling down into her own vomit, she decided she wouldn't have anything to do with her.


She had gone to a Technicolor movie where she began to feel ill. So did Betsy, one of her roomies. "We slipped out of our seats and said 'Excuse me Excuse me Excuse me' down the length of our row, while the people grumbled and hissed and shifted their rain boots and umbrellas to let us pass, and I stepped on as many feet as I could because it took my mind off this enormous desire to puke that was ballooning up in front of me so fast I couldn't see round it." They had food poisoning and some of them almost died. Doreen came to nurse her.


She had a problem tipping people for doing things she could just as easily have done for herself. She also had a problem with the amount of tips since she never had the correct change.


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