I say it every month, but I honestly cannot believe that this year is flying by! I looked forward to this challenge (and this month) all year, and now it’s over!
October’s challenge was a book from Rory Gilmore’s reading list. There were so many wonderful novels to choose from, but I landed on The Bell Jar. I’ve always wanted to read it and it seemed like the perfect time!
I’m not giving anything away, but if you’re not familiar, The Bell Jar is a novel by Syliva Plath and “chronicles the crack-up of Esther Greenwood: brilliant, beautiful, enormously talented, and successful, but slowly going under – maybe for the last time.” Given the author, there’s no surprise it’s a dark read. There are recurring themes of death, birth, blood, mirrors, the role of women and psychiatric medicine in the 50s, and pain. But I loved it. I was moved by it. I marked a particular section that really touched me:
“From the tip of every branch, like a fat purple fig, a wonderful future beckoned and winked. One fig was a husband and a happy home and children, and another fig was a famous poet and another fig was a brilliant professor, and another fig was Ee Gee, the amazing editor, and another fig was Europe and Africa and South America, and another fig was Constantin and Socrates and Attila and a pack of other lovers with queer names and offbeat professions, and another fig was an Olympic lady crew champion, and beyond and above these figs were many more figs I couldn’t quite make out. I saw myself sitting in the crotch of this fig tree, starving to death, just because I couldn’t make up my mind which of the figs I would choose. I wanted each and every one of them, but choosing one meant losing all the rest, and, as I sat there, unable to decide, the figs begin to wrinkle and go black, and, one by one, they plopped to the ground at my feet.”
Who hasn’t felt that way before: wanting it all but being paralyzed by indecision? I don’t think I’ve ever encountered a better analogy for the fear of making the wrong decision. I identified with it in this particular season in my life.
The Bell Jar was heartbreaking and beautiful and will stay with you long after you finish. I highly recommend it.
November’s reading challenge is a young adult novel. I’m lost – any suggestions?
Check out what Llinos read this month!
Have you read The Bell Jar? What did you read in October?