The Bell Jar by Sylvia PlathThe Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath

The Bell Jar

bySylvia Plath

Paperback | September 23, 2003 | Large Print

Pricing and Purchase Info


Earn 125 plum® points

Prices and offers may vary in store


Ships within 1-2 weeks

Ships free on orders over $25

Not available in stores


The Bell Jar chronicles the breakdown of the brilliant, beautiful, enormously talented, and successful Esther Greenwood, a woman slowly going under -- maybe for the last time. Sylvia Plath masterfully draws the reader into Esther's demise with such intensity that the character's insanity becomes completely real, even rational -- as probable and accessible an experience as going to the movies. Such deep penetration into the dark and harrowing corners of the psyche is an extraordinary accomplishment and has made The Bell Jar a haunting American classic.
Sylvia Plath was born in 1932 in Massachusetts. Her books include the poetry collections The Colossus, Crossing the Water, Winter Trees, Ariel, and The Collected Poems, which won the Pulitzer Prize. A complete and uncut facsimile edition of Ariel was published in 2004 with her original selection and arrangement of poems. She was marrie...
Title:The Bell JarFormat:Paperback | Large PrintPublished:September 23, 2003Publisher:HarperCollinsLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0060573090

ISBN - 13:9780060573096

Look for similar items by category:


Rated 5 out of 5 by from Read this Book Heartbreaking and honest. A refreshing style of writing. A slice of what life was like for women 1950s America.
Date published: 2018-05-21
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A Must Read This is an excellent example of first person writing. I love the brutal honesty of the main character’s thoughts. It’s a dark read, but not lacking wit. Plath has delivered an accurate account of mental illness. Having spent some time in the “Bell Jar” myself, I understood the character (Esther) and was comforted by her madness. I felt less alone in my own illness.
Date published: 2018-03-25
Rated 5 out of 5 by from My favourite book ever. I read The Bell Jar two years ago and the words of Sylvia Plath still haunt me--in a good way. This book is an exceptional piece of work, I definitely recommend it. #plumreview
Date published: 2018-03-20
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A favourite An amazing read. Light, simple, easy to follow writing with such a dark story line.
Date published: 2018-03-19
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A Favourite This novel was assigned reading to me by my English teacher when I was in my last year of high school, about to start university. I think often about that English teacher and how she sat with every student in our last year to hand-pick which book she thought would suit us for our culminating project. As an over-achiever all throughout my education, she thought The Bell Jar would be a good choice for me as I prepared to join the rest of the big fish. I can honestly say that reading this book at that time in my life shaped a lot of my decisions that were to come in the following formative years. This is a well written, sad look into Sylvia Plath's life, but told beautifully as always.
Date published: 2018-03-14
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Beautifully written. The overall structure of the novel is light, with no complicated sentences like the other classics. But it will leave you impacted, for sure. A depiction of mental health that I have never seen before.
Date published: 2018-03-14
Rated 5 out of 5 by from One of my faves What can I say about one of my favroite books? To me, it's one of the greatest depictions of mental health ever in literature, whilst also being darkly humorous and enlightening. I've read it many times and I'm always comforted by Plath's prose and writing style which rings clear of her roots in poetry.
Date published: 2018-03-11
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Classic This novel took my by surprise, the turn that Plath takes in the novel blindsided me a little. To those who are concerned that it will be a slow start, it is. But it is worth your patience. Plath effortlessly describes feelings that most can only hope to explain. There are many layers of the story to peel back and the themes, messages and motifs are ones that are still relevant today.
Date published: 2018-01-26
Rated 2 out of 5 by from A bore I remember starting, and not finishing this book around 20 years ago. I've tried a couple more times, but it's just a bore. I read Girl, Interrupted in the early 1990's, and I remember thinking that it was a similar vein, but so much more poignant, more interesting, just plain better written, why do some many people seem to like The Bell Jar? Maybe it's the whole tragic suicide mystique... I don't know. It's just a bore. Ester is irritating, and I empathized with the other characters before I finally donated my copy. I do still love her poetry- I think that's by far her best work (in terms of her novel, poems and journals). Some of her poetry readings are online- her voice is shrill and unnerving, which suits the poems perfectly.
Date published: 2018-01-22
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Dull and overrated I was utterly disappointed. It's a dull and purposeless book. I felt like I was reading a depressed teenage girl's diary that is not worthy of being published. I found the protagonist unlikable, unrelatable, and very narcissistic. There were some poetic/quotable one-liners but mostly she just rambles on and on and on, and the story went nowhere. That this book is highly praised is a mystery to me, which is a shame because I like her poetry. Perhaps critics admire her poems so much that they decided that they have to love her novel too.
Date published: 2018-01-05
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Loved it! I was worried that I would just be wasting my time reading this book, but it ended up surprising me. I really enjoyed it, and plan on definitely reading it again in the future.
Date published: 2017-12-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Read it if you need some inspriation I read this book and I found it very therapeutic because it helped me describe an experience that I couldn't describe on my own. The novel will definitely make you cry and empathize with Plath. Enjoy!
Date published: 2017-11-24
Rated 4 out of 5 by from A classic A book that every woman should read when she is old enough to. Deals with mental health and it's easy to tell why it is a feminist treasure.
Date published: 2017-11-16
Rated 1 out of 5 by from No story I read The Bell Jar as part of my 2017 Reading Challenge, in the category of a book written by an author using a pseudonym. There is no real story. I feel like I do not know anything about Ester, who is the main character.
Date published: 2017-10-24
Rated 4 out of 5 by from A Must Read This is one of my favourite books. It really displays mental health in a young woman well. I really was able to relate to Ester and found myself being able to easily understand what was happening in the character/author's head. The Bell Jar can enlighten and help others understand depression/mental health issues. I left this book understanding that everything in life will be okay & not to sweat the small stuff. Trigger warning for depression.
Date published: 2017-09-06
Rated 2 out of 5 by from meh I understand why this is an important novel for mental health and feminism, but I personally did not enjoy it.
Date published: 2017-08-28
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Will stay with you I'll be honest and say that for myself it was definitely hard to read- not because it was terrible but because I found myself unexpectedly really resonating with Ester's (Sylvia's) feelings of depression. It does end slightly on a hopeful note though.
Date published: 2017-08-15
Rated 5 out of 5 by from You wont be able to put it down. I only read this book cause it was one that pinterest said you had to read this book in your life, and it was worth it. SOOO GOOD. could not put it down.
Date published: 2017-07-23
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Terrifyingly Captivating. I can't believe I haven't read this book earlier in my life, it remains one of my favorites. A beautiful yet terrifying glimpse into the world of mental illness.
Date published: 2017-07-13
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Beautiful I read this book for class and enjoyed it a lot more than I would.
Date published: 2017-07-11
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Don't understand the hype I am perplexed as to how this book is a "modern classic". I felt like I too was sinking slowly into insanity along with Esther while reading this novel... The chapters were all over the place and I was left scratching my head and a few instances. This was most definitely a disappointment.
Date published: 2017-06-30
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Beautiful Wish Sylvia could have seen the legacy she left behind. Beautiful novel.
Date published: 2017-06-16
Rated 4 out of 5 by from An Arrow "The last thing I wanted was infinite security and to be the place an arrow shoots off from. I wanted change and excitement and to shoot off in all directions myself, like the colored arrows from a Fourth of July rocket." Sylvia Plath was ahead of her time when it came to women's rights. This novel, which eerily resembles her own life, is truly melancholic and beautiful.
Date published: 2017-06-16
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Thank you, Sylvia Plath Sylvia Plath expresses everything you've ever felt as a woman in this world in the most harrowing, yet appealing way possible. The Bell Jar validates the restlessness women often feel in a world with a million choices that they aren't allowed to make for themselves. I felt understood in way I hadn't before I read this book. Read it!
Date published: 2017-05-09
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Love Plath! Hauntingly beautiful! Great writing.
Date published: 2017-04-11
Rated 4 out of 5 by from really enjoyed it such a beautiful, yet so tragic, book
Date published: 2017-04-08
Rated 5 out of 5 by from The Bell Jar Its a frighteningly realistic story about what depression can become. Sylvia Plath wrote a depressing, but empowering coming of age story. Based off of her own experience of having a mental illness, she depicts exactly how debilitating it can grow to be and affect life. It is severely emotional and dark and mostly pertains to women and their struggles.
Date published: 2017-04-02
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Stark, Tragic Life The stark and tragic depiction of the real struggle with mental illness.
Date published: 2017-03-29
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Relatable As someone that struggles with mental illness it really spoke to me.
Date published: 2017-03-22
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Bleak, Gritty and Stark Excellent read if your interested in delving into the harsh reality of mental illness.
Date published: 2017-03-18
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Couldn't finish it Or perhaps I did and don't remember. For such a classic read, it didn't move me at all. I was bored.
Date published: 2017-03-17
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Really Good A book with a nice plot, and relatable heroine
Date published: 2017-03-08
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Not my favourite I know this is classic but it didn't really speak to me. Plus, it was too depressing and bleak at times.
Date published: 2017-03-08
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent book A really beautifully written book. You really connect with the main character.
Date published: 2017-03-08
Rated 5 out of 5 by from One of my favourites! I love this book. I felt like it really spoke to me. It's beautifully written and quite melancholy.
Date published: 2017-03-02
Rated 5 out of 5 by from One of my favourites I really liked this book and I read it on a whim. I found the main character quite relatable. It's beautifully written in a melancholic longing type of way.
Date published: 2017-03-02
Rated 4 out of 5 by from beautiful in a sad way I fell in love with her poetry as well.
Date published: 2017-02-05
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Haunting Knowing that this is the real life and feelings of Sylvia Plath makes this a hard book to get through. It is haunting and beautifully written.Brings you deep into the world of a depressed woman her struggles and life leading up to a painful end.This is a book everyone should read
Date published: 2017-02-02
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A Heavy, Beautiful Read It's such a dark book, and I can never put it down once I've picked it up. Just beautiful.
Date published: 2017-01-26
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Loved it! SO SAD! But so real! This was amazing!
Date published: 2017-01-21
Rated 5 out of 5 by from I loved this book! This book is one of my favorites. It offers you insight into your own world that will resonate with you.
Date published: 2017-01-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A favourite Classic. A great addition to one's personal book collection. As others have reviewed, it is a book that you will gain new insight each time you read it. A must read for all book lovers, written by one of the most influential poets.
Date published: 2017-01-04
Rated 4 out of 5 by from A great read for young adults If you're heading into university or adulthood this is a great read to have and refer to when you reach some of the highest and lowest points of your life.
Date published: 2016-12-30
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Favourite Book One of my all time favourite books. Classic. Must read.
Date published: 2016-12-29
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great book! I've read this more than once! Great read!
Date published: 2016-12-20
Rated 5 out of 5 by from I Love This Book Anyone who has not read this book needs to read it. This story is amazing and I feel like I can relate to Esther's thought process.
Date published: 2016-12-09
Rated 5 out of 5 by from YES if you haven't read this book, you need to. It comments on more than mental illness and gender, and I promise you'll like it! #plumreview
Date published: 2016-12-02
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Classic This might be the most important book I have ever read. I still read it yearly and get something new out of each journey with this book. It is just brilliant.
Date published: 2016-11-03
Rated 5 out of 5 by from The Bell Jar This book is amazingly written. The storyline is captivating, and holds interesting turns after every page. I strongly recommend it. It tells the story of a young lady who starts out very collected, and throughout the story you see her mental deterioration.
Date published: 2005-07-27

Editorial Reviews

“As clear and readable as it is witty and disturbing.” (New York Times)