A Book Review: The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath

The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath Book Review Written by Laurel from cookieswithmycoffee.com
The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath Book Review Written by Laurel from cookieswithmycoffee.com
The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath

The Bell Jar was written by Pulitzer Prize winner Sylvia Plath and was first published in 1963 under her pseudonym, Victoria Lucas. It is a semi-autobiographical story told by the narrator, Esther Greenwood, taking the reader on a trip through her sexual confusion, depression, and the treatment she went through to get better. A few months after publication, her suffering through years of depression and many failed suicide attempts, Sylvia Plath committed suicide by inhaling gas from an oven. This was her only novel as she focused more on poetry.

I started reading The Bell Jar because I was really curious about who Sylvia Plath was. I was browsing through the internet when I saw Sylvia Plath so I dug a little deeper to find she suffered with depression for a majority of her life. She married Ted Hughes, another poet, and had two children before her death at 30 years old. The book itself had me on edge the whole time I read it. Esther’s confusion about her ideas on sexuality and new experiences was in contrast with what was perceived as socially acceptable. What I found interesting was she, to me, was a modern woman. I found her relatable in her desires to experience a full and stimulating life in spite of what other’s find acceptable is something we’ve all struggled with.

Another aspect that is interesting to think about is how she was confronting her depression and her treatment. The setting is during a time where doctors believed shock therapy was a reasonable treatment to all mental illnesses, especially for women. Reading about Esther and many other women’s suffering through shock treatments was intense, and her descriptions of how she felt both before and after treatments was unsettling. I learned mental illness was often misdiagnosed with having “women’s hysteria” and I appreciated reading from a woman’s point of view of illness instead of the doctor’s clinical opinion.

The book The Bell Jar is short, my copy is just over 200 pages, but it is full of emotions and trauma from cover to cover. It has made me think a lot about depression and what it was like to be a woman at a time when the world was considered the man’s. This is not a breeze through, light hearted, quick read. It is a contemplative story that I sat up all night reading and then spent about three days rereading and thinking about. It is quite unsettling since this is semi-autobiographical. I kept connecting all Esther’s feelings to what Sylvia Plath might have been experiencing throughout her life. I am one of those people who believe that the greatest writers are those who have had difficult lives and Sylvia Plath is arguably one of best writers. This book is a provocative expression of pain and getting a view into some else’s  tragedy makes one reflective of the silent illnesses other’s could be living through.

I would love to hear what you guys have to say about her book or any of her poetry. Also, if you have a book you’d like me to review, I’d love a suggestion.Laurel, Book Reviewer from Cookieswithmycoffee.com

At least it wasn’t all bad. A Positive Retrospective of 2016

My beautiful boy and me at the iconic Cadillac Ranch on famous Rt 66 in Amarillo Texas.

2016. I think with most people, when they hear the year 2016 there’s a massive rush of emotion. From mass shootings, police violence, election year scandals, to a surprisingly large number of childhood icons we’ve lost, it’s probably safe to say that we could all use a break in the next year.

While I can easily focus on the entire negative that happened, I decided it would be best for us all if I concentrated on some of the good, both personally and worldly.

Enormous first year sweet potato harvest. Some were nearly 5 pounds!
Enormous first year sweet potato harvest. Some were nearly 5 pounds!
  • I had a spectacular first garlic and sweet potato harvest.
  • I got myself a job outside my house. This is the first time in 7 years I’ve worked at a paycheck job, and I’m really excited about it.
  • My family took our annual trip to my husband’s family reunion in SE Oklahoma then on to Dallas. We visited the Perot Museum of Natural Sciences and it was fascinating.
  • I got to take an epic road trip, just my son and me, through 4 states this summer. I could not have had a better time. We even picked up a new hobby of geocaching.
  • My husband and I took a drive to Tulsa and saw Coldplay.
  • I took my kids to the Great Salt Plains where we dug for rare hourglass selenite crystals.
  • I’ve gotten back into the groove of reading novels regularly. I’m pretty proud of how many I’ve finished in the last year.
  • Captain America: Civil War, Zootopia, and Deadpool. Awesome movies.
  • Pokemon Go, while a short lived phenomenon, was fun while it lasted. I especially enjoyed playing with my husband and son.
  • Giant Pandas have been taken off the endangered species list. The numbers of manatees and some tiger and rhino species are increasing as well.
  • The survival rates of melanoma and pancreatic cancer patients have increased dramatically.

 

My beautiful boy and me at the iconic Cadillac Ranch on famous Rt 66 in Amarillo Texas.
My beautiful boy and me at the iconic Cadillac Ranch on famous Rt 66 in Amarillo Texas.

In thinking about the positive happenings from the last year, I’m inspired to start a journal just to jot down the good that surrounds me day to day. I had to think too hard to come up with examples when I know I’ve had many days of joy in 2016. I hope this inspires the rest of you to think of all of the good that surrounds you as well.

Here’s to New Beginnings. Even the Unexpected Type. A New Year and a New Blog

Have a cup of coffee and enjoy a cookie with me.
Have a cup of coffee and enjoy a cookie with me.
Have a cup of coffee and enjoy a cookie with me.

So it’s bright and early in the wee hours of 2017. We’re all fresh faced and optimistic in our resolutions and the possibilities a new year can bring us. Due to my lack of attention, I’m also getting the opportunity to start my blog from scratch, and at the moment, I’m quite excited at the prospect. We’ll just have to wait and see how far all of this New Year’s enthusiasm gets me.

I’ve been struggling to find my voice on this blogging adventure. My internal dialog that constantly yammers in my brain, trying to find its purpose, has been especially loud these past few months. I’ve been on the fence about posting regular recipes, but I can often think of some gardening situation I’ve been working through. The thought of regular menu planning also seems to be a popular topic as well. I’m usually not one to freely give out parenting advice and I’m for sure no interior designer, so no talk of that.  I’m hoping through a series of writing prompts and regular postings, my intentions in writing will become clearer to me as well as learning more of the ins and outs of working regularly on my computer more intuitive.

If this learning experience seems like it all might be an intriguing journey, please sit back with a warm cup coffee and a crumply shortbread cookie and enjoy!