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Book Review of The Bell Jar (Modern Classics)

The Bell Jar (Modern Classics)
Tesstarosa avatar reviewed on + 151 more book reviews

Another book read for a book club. Definitely a classic and one that I wouldnt have probably chose to read of my own accord. Definitely a book worth reading.

The story follows Esther Greenwood a brilliant, talented and beautiful college student in the early 1950s. The story opens in June 1953, the month the Rosebergs were electrocuted for treason, with Esther at an exclusive month-long internship working at a New York magazine. She is given her own room at a New York hotel as are all the other girls and she works as an editors assistant at a New York magazine part of the day and is taken to plays, fashion shows, shopping trips, etc. the rest of the time.

As the month of her internship draws to a close, Esther will have to go back home and begin her life again as a scholarship-based college student. We see her begin to behave strangely but we also know her thoughts and her behavior just seems to be that of a young woman who knows she has a lot of talent and is facing the pressure to succeed.

As the story progresses, her behavior definitely becomes that of someone who is experiencing an extreme mental breakdown in a time where mental illness is shunned and the treatments are none or barbaric.

The story is beautifully written and is a semi-autobiographical account of the authors life as a young woman. As I read it, I was heartbroken with how little was known about mental illness and how horribly the people who suffered from mental diseases were treated by the people they knew and often by the people in medicine.

Her life under the bell jar and eventual, if temporary, escape from the bell jar is riveting.

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