SIX MONTHS IN A YOUNG WOMAN’S LIFE.
“The Bell Jar is a novel about the events of Sylvia Plath’s twentieth year; about how she tried to die, and how they stuck her together with glue. It is a fine novel, as bitter and remorseless as her last poems — the kind of book Salinger’s Franny might have written about herself ten years later, if she had spent those ten years in Hell.” –– Robert Scholes, The New York Times Book Review
“A special poignance. . . a special force, a humbling power, because it shows the vulnerability of people of hope and good will.” — Newsweek
“By turns funny, harrowing, crude, ardent and artless. Its most notable quality is an astonishing immediacy, like a series of snapshots taken at high noon. The story, scarcely disguised autobiography, covers six months in a young girl’s life, beginning when she goes to New York to serve on a fashion magazine’s college-editorial board. It ends when she emerges from a mental hospital after a breakdown.” — Martha Duffy, Time
“Sylvia Plath’s only novel is a deceptively modest, uncommonly fine piece of work. . . A sharp and memorable poignancy. With her classical restraint and purity of form, Sylvia Plath is always refusing to break your heart, though in the end, she breaks it anyway.” — Lucy Rosenthal, Saturday Review
“On February 11, 1963, a 30-year-old American poet, separated from her husband and living with her children in a cold London flat, gassed herself and passed into myth. Eight months later ten of her last poems, written at a speed of two or three a day, ‘written,’ she said, ‘at about four in the morning. . . that still blue, almost eternal hour before the baby’s cry, before the glassy music of the milkman, settling his bottles,’ appeared on two pages of Encounter magazine and caused a sensation. In 1965 her husband brought out a posthumous collection, Ariel. . . In the eight years since her death Sylvia Plath has become a major figure in contemporary literature.” — Richard Locke, The New York Times Book Review