A review by tobin_elliott
The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath

challenging dark emotional sad tense slow-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? No
  • Loveable characters? No
  • Diverse cast of characters? No
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes


Somehow, in all my time on the planet, I've kind of missed out on Sylvia Plath. I had no knowledge of her or her writing, and I decided it was probably time to change that.

The first two things I noticed about this short novel was that the story itself seemed to very anecdotal. Small, almost unimportant events and observations simply strung together, with no real through-story. The other was that the writing itself is gorgeous.

So this sits—for me, at least—almost in the same region as, say, Kerouac's ON THE ROAD in that the only specific story is the main character's experience.

Yet, for all of that, as the story gets darker and darker, the book is impossible to put down. And knowing that this was the last full novel she wrote, I found myself wondering what brilliant offerings Plath could have produced, if she'd had more time.