The Bell Jar by Sylvia PlathThe Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath

The Bell Jar

bySylvia Plath

Paperback | February 26, 2013

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I was supposed to be having the time of my life.

When Esther Greenwood wins an internship on a New York fashion magazine in 1953, she is elated, believing she will finally realise her dream to become a writer. But in between the cocktail parties and piles of manuscripts, Esther's life begins to slide out of control. She finds herself spiralling into depression and eventually a suicide attempt, as she grapples with difficult relationships and a society which refuses to take women's aspirations seriously.

The Bell Jar, Sylvia Plath's only novel, was originally published in 1963 under the pseudonym Victoria Lucas. The novel is partially based on Plath's own life and descent into mental illness, and has become a modern classic. The Bell Jar has been celebrated for its darkly funny and razor sharp portrait of 1950s society and has sold millions of copies worldwide.

Sylvia Plath (1932-63) was born in Boston, Massachusetts, and studied at Smith College. In 1955 she went to Cambridge University on a Fulbright scholarship, where she met and later married Ted Hughes. She published one collection of poems in her lifetime, The Colossus (1960), and a novel, The Bell Jar (1963). Her Collected Poems, whic...
Title:The Bell JarFormat:PaperbackDimensions:240 pages, 7.79 × 4.98 × 0.6 inPublished:February 26, 2013Publisher:Faber & Faber AgencyLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0571268862

ISBN - 13:9780571268863

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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 Great! I couldnt put down this novel it was honest and beautiful and you dont stop thinking about it once who have finished. It leaves you with so many questions .
Date published: 2015-08-27
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Compelling and chilling Unexpectedly insightful. Gender and society and mental illness explored in haunting narrative. Captivating.
Date published: 2015-07-10
Rated 5 out of 5 by from The bell jar An unforgettable struggle between mental and emotional torture.
Date published: 2014-05-17
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

"A fine novel, as bitter and remorseless as her last poems--the kind of book Salinger's Fanny might have written about herself ten years later, if she had spent those ten years in Hell." --The New York Times Book Review