Skip to main content
PBS logo
Want fewer ads?

Search - The Bell Jar

The Bell Jar
The Bell Jar
Author: Sylvia Plath
A vulnerable young girl wins a dream assignment  on a big-time New York fashion magazine and finds  herself plunged into a nightmare. An  autobiographical account of Sylvia Plath's own mental breakdown  and suicide attempt, The Bell Jar  is more than a confessional novel, it is a comic...  more »
ISBN-13: 9780553278354
ISBN-10: 0553278355
Publication Date: 8/1/1983
Pages: 224
  • Currently 3.9/5 Stars.

3.9 stars, based on 197 ratings
Publisher: Bantam
Book Type: Paperback
Other Versions: Hardcover, Audio Cassette
Members Wishing: 2
Reviews: Member | Amazon | Write a Review

Top Member Book Reviews

Leigh avatar reviewed The Bell Jar on + 377 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 6
Engagingly written book that explores the mental break-down of a young woman. This is semi-autobiographical, as Plath and her main character have some strong similarities. In my opinion, I think this describes quite well the fusion of mania and depression in a bi-polar person. Not the up-up-up mania, but the irritable and angry mania - a perfect "mixed" state. The title is an analogy to the isolation and separation the main character feels - everyone can see what's in a bell jar, but no one can hear what's going on inside.
reviewed The Bell Jar on
Helpful Score: 6
I can easily see why this is a classic.. what I cannot understand is why it took me so long to read it! And I mean, why I did not read it earlier on in my life, because I finished it in a day.
I saw myself in Esther's downward spiral so vividly, it was frightening! The characters were all so well written, but not so much so that they took away from the main story.. from the all consuming fear of being a nobody.. becoming nothing. Esther's fears consume the reader much as they consumed herself.

I was so engrossed in this book, that the night I finished the read, I dreamed of shock therapy.
reviewed The Bell Jar on + 3 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 3
This was a fascinating and beautifully written portrayal of a young woman's nervous breakdown. Based on Plath's own experiences, the story takes you into the thought distortions of someone who is suffering from depression and all the other factors making up a nervous collapse. I particularly enjoyed Plath's use of language. Excellent reading.
iloveyouhecried avatar reviewed The Bell Jar on + 38 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
This book is a real classic. The way Plath writes is beautiful and thought provoking. I would imagine that almost everyone can see themselves in the character at one point or another in this book. A must read.
apachesun avatar reviewed The Bell Jar on
Helpful Score: 1
One of the must reads about the experience of depression in this young woman's breakdown. A classic. Sylvia Plath is one of my absolute favorite authors.
Read All 56 Book Reviews of "The Bell Jar"

Please Log in to Rate these Book Reviews

bookgoddessme avatar reviewed The Bell Jar on + 106 more book reviews
This book was a fairly quick read. An attempt for me to read a "classic". I want to by no means dismiss Plath's powerful life story on any level, but this book did not delight me as I hoped it would. I found it strange, and slow, and a little bit boring even.
reviewed The Bell Jar on + 3 more book reviews
An essential read for all young feminists. I sent it to my 18-year-old great-grandaughter and would recommend it to all my "greats" (27) male and female.
sarahinme avatar reviewed The Bell Jar on + 58 more book reviews
Absolutely one of my favorite books. It is heavy and a bit crazy but a fantastic read. Sylvia Plath is one of the most fascinating writers, and if you have never read a Plath novel this is a wonderful starter!

Book Wiki

Common Title
Original Publication Date (YYYY-MM-DD)
Esther Greenwood (Primary Character)


Want fewer ads?