Late nights with whiskey and The Bell Jar

 

So, you know those moments when you clear your calendar so that you can get a bunch of work done? In my case, those days never work. Not ever. Not even once. Do you want to know the pathetic part?  I still attempt them. I am beginning to think it is because I know I will wind up doing something completely off task and totally awesome in my quest to avoid whatever it is I am supposed to be doing. I may have a slight procrastination problem. Last Halloween I went to work as Procrastination Woman (I save the day at the very last second).

There was the time I needed to work on storyboarding my book, and this happened:

Rusty

I don’t think Rusty ever forgave me for my transgressions that night. I also ate all of Santa’s cookies. Come to think of it, I might have more than just a procrastination problem.

 

And then there was the great wine balancing debacle of 2013. And the time that I dressed my son as a Dalek using only cardboard boxes and the shipping foam for my work computer (turns out I would need that shipping foam for work, whoops!). And the time…Oh well, you get the point.

Back to The Bell Jar and Whisky. My husband worked a 48 this last weekend, so I knew the opportunity for some focused work time was upon me. Hah! See how I used the word focused there. I can be self-deluded sometimes. Anyway, I farmed my kids out to neighbors and friends and settled in to buckle down and finish editing my manuscript.

The next thing I knew, it was 4 a.m., and I was turning the last page of The Bell Jar while sipping my third tumbler of whiskey. So here it is, I am finally going to give you my official review.

I loved it, plain and simple. For those of you who aren’t familiar with the book, Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar is about her struggles with writing and existing as a woman in a male dominant world. The narrative follows her descent into depression and subsequent suicide attempt. When I spoke to others before reading it, they often described the book as sad and I put if off for quite a while. However, the first emotion that danced in my heart when I finally put the tome down was hope.

quotescover-JPG-47The bell jar symbolizes not only her struggle with depression but also the stifling effect of not fitting into the role that society has predetermined for you. At one point Plath begins listing all of the things she should be able to do, but can’t. This list marks the beginning of her descent, her realization that she was inadequate for the role of a woman. At that point, there was no freaking way I could put down the book. In my head spun all the times I’d done just the same thing, tallied up my inadequacies and realized that I just didn’t want to fix them. It is hard growing up in a society with rigid ideas of what it means to be male or female and know that you don’t quite fit into that role. I drink whiskey, play rugby, loathe crafting with my children, hate baking and only occasionally wear makeup. There are most assuredly days when my husband wishes he’d gone for trophy wife instead of for love.
quotescover-JPG-93 Not only is the storyline relevant and compelling, but the writing is just freaking beautiful. I read this novel twice so that I could go back and study the way that Plath puts together her dialogue and imagery and the second time I got swept away just as quickly as the first.

For those of us who have experienced what it is like to be trapped under a bell jar, breathing that stale air and suffocating, this read will be poignant and liberating. Those who have never had to deal with mental illness, marginalization, or inadequacy, will find this an enlightening and stirring read.

Overall: 5 out of 5 stars!

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