“The first-person narrative fixes us there, in the doctor’s office, in the asylum, in the madness, with no reassuring vacations when we can keep company with the sane and listen to their lectures.”

NO MAJOR SPOILERS

“I took a deep breath and listened to the old brag of my heart: I am, I am, I am.”

It’s tough, to end something which doesn’t seem like fiction. Anyhow good books are difficult to forget, and they leave such imprint in your soul that it’s very tough to get over them.

It’s even tougher when the book is not just a book, but something which you can feel. It’s not somebody else’s story, it’s your own. Such is The Bell Jar.

It is believed to be Sylvia Plath’s own story, which was published in the same year in which she committed suicide. It speaks about the mental illness, from the perspective of someone who is going through it. And you’ll feel it’s real. All her fears, anxiety, is not something which is unusual. We all go through it. Pressure to perform better than our peers. Pressure of being in a middle class family, and so wanting to do your best, so that you are on your own as soon as possible. Not getting through the college you have wanted to get into, shattered dreams, failed love. Basically a life we all live. Some survive. Some give in. In the book Esther Greenwood survived. In reality she couldn’t.

It’s a story of a bright young girl, with a bright young mind. A girl next door, whose purpose in life is to excel. She gets a scholarship, being the bright student that she always has been. She wants to become a writer, and fight her demons in her stories, untill one day. When suddenly life happens to her.

I wish people would understand what depression means. It’s not only when you are sad and don’t talk to anyone. It’s when there are millions of thoughts going on in your head and you don’t know how to collect them. The thoughts that drive you mad, and you don’t even understand why they are driving you mad. The thoughts which make you imagine things which might or might not be there. And it doesn’t take a lot to drive a human to this state. I believe we are all living on the edge. One day we fall this side and the other day we have to fight these demons. Mental illness is real, just like the physical ones. Oh how I wish SP had survived in real too.

The Bell Jar would always remain close to my heart. My next read is The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath. I can only imagine the kind of journey it’ll be to read that.

 

Reviewed by:

Tashi Mishra

Added 14th October 2017