After yesterday’s comment barrage after being on WP’s “Freshly Pressed” page, I was a little intimidated about what I should post on next. Well, there’s no easy way to follow that like-fest up, so I’m going back to the safety and comfort of the 30 Days of Books list. Today’s question:
Day 06 – A Book That Makes You Sad
Well, I don’t spend a lot of time reading tear-jerkers – and maybe a book that makes you emotional, isn’t quite the same as a book that makes you sad.
Anyway, after some thought, the book that came to mind most readily is The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath. The story of Esther – readily recognizable as Plath – a young girl in the pre-social unrest 1950s-60s who is beginning to experience the “wide world” and have opportunities that previous generations of American women never had resonates because we know Plath’s sad fate. Esther/Sylvia has the potential to be a sort of Holly Golightly – smart, savvy, and not necessarily bound to a fate of home and children. In the book, you begin to get hints of Esther’s mental instability, and then follow her descent into depression and her attempts (some half-hearted, one at least pretty serious) at suicide. Finally, the reader witnesses her various “treatments” including insulin and electroshock – which I found pretty stomach-turning. With the help of a therapist, though Esther begins to make her way out of depression and at the close of the book is close to heading back out into society.
This ending, of course, is perhaps the saddest and most poignant part as Plath herself was never able to get there – choosing to commit suicide at age 30, shortly after The Bell Jar was first published.