I read The Bell Jar last week. While it’s relatively short read it covers a lot of ground looking at mental illness, in particular depression, youth and growing up, and womanhood. It’s a meaningful book and very relatable (at least for me, a woman in my early twenties!). Some of the book is quite shocking, for example Plath’s experience of electro shock treatment and social perceptions of mental illness, and provides a good basis for discussion of these topics within our society.
I didn’t realise until after reading it that it is semi autobiographical (with names and place names changed, and first published under a pseudonym) and that Plath committed suicide soon after its publication, a poignant reminder of the difficulties of mental illness and societal expectations and perceptions of young women.