The autobiographical novel, describing Sylvia Plath painful ordeal when she becomes mentally ill is such a book.
This is a disturbingly frightening journey through the mind of a young girl suffering from depression in the 1950's. How far we have come in the last few decades in recognizing depression as a mental illness and treating it with much less radical techniques than electric shock.
The story opens with Esther in New York, during the summer of her collegiate years, working and modeling for a prestigious NY magazine. Through many obscure and complex observations, we slowly get a picture of her; Boston suburbanite, Smith college-type on scholarship, the world literally at her feet. But it is, still at these beginning stages, the random comment or action that begins to creep in to her personality that makes you aware that something is not quite right. Sure enough, as we move on, Esther becomes more and more un-hinged, doing things far outside of her personality.
Soon we reach a point where she attempts suicide and discusses suicide as the answer to get her out from “under the Bell Jar. I found myself having to put the book down occasionally to internalize what I’d just read. This is really an amazing ability that Plath had…flowing from one emotion to the other without noticing until the full force of Esther’s actions take hold. Where the first third of the novel is fairly light, the last two thirds are riveting, very difficult to put down.
To summarize, if you feel you're suffering from depression, madness, confusion about topics pertaining to society and sex, or just looking for a good read, The Bell Jar is definitely the book for you. I also advise, if you're seriously suffering from depression, to get help for yourself. There is no shame in it, and getting help is better than ending your life. Even if you need to go on medication, DO NOT feel ashamed, especially if it's going to help you even more.
There are probably many who have read The Bell Jar and absolutely loved it. I am gladly considering myself one of them.