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Tag / Modern Classics

Reviewsday: The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath


It is hard to say I enjoyed this book, but I definitely appreciated it. The Bell Jar is the story of a woman who is struggling figure out who she is in a world that wants her to fit a particular mould.

The Bell Jar is the story of Esther Greenwood who suffered from depression, at the very least, in a time when mental health for women was based purely on male opinions of female emotion, namely we are hysterical and we must be lacking some kind of domestic hobby in order to be happy because we couldn't possibly feel oppressed when we have a house, husband and children to take care of.

The Bell Jar is a combination of many things, it's a feminist novel, it's a study of mental health, it's a study of human relations. From the very first page, I felt an affinity with Esther, whether it's because she is pessimistic and cynical (two traits women of her time shouldn't have) or because she clearly wanted more than the world was ready to make available for her, I really can't say.

I found the writing to be a little bit nonsensical in some places, but I also felt that this was not a negative to the text. It merely illustrated the state of Esther's mind. What I struggled with was the parts of the text where one paragraph would finish one event very suddenly before the next would start on another entirely different event, often a huge leap forward in the timeline.

This novel had a profound affect on me and I'm glad I still possess the mindset to appreciate it. I've often found that many novels that are considered classics or seminal reading, often have to be appreciated and read at a certain age, or you miss the point entirely. The Catcher in the Rye is another good example.

Everybody with a passion for literature is aware of the outcome of Sylvia Plath's life, this book was her cry for help. Unfortunately, she was Esther Greenwood, a woman with mental health issues so complex that the world she lived in was not advanced enough to help her, the world she lived in thought she had "nothing to be sad about."

This book has a lot of darkness, it is stressful, taught, honest, confusing, shattering, immature, wise. I could go on with the adjectives forever, but whatever words I come up with will do no justice to experience I feel like I have gained for reading it. The thing to know when reading The Bell Jar is that it is polarising, both in the results people get reading it and in the writing and Esther's story. She is a contradiction, she is a mystery.

~ Sam

The Ash Fault


The world is a but a husk; a broken and bitter place left smoking and quaking beneath a sullen sky. Ash and bones are all the remain in our once vibrant world yet despite the destruction of its entirety life still trudges along; barely.

The Road”, written by Cormac McCarthy is my all time favourite book. Now you're probably thinking: This pulitzer prize winning story with an overall theme of death and loss must be the most depressing story one can read; well it is...but tragically beautiful all the same. Set in a landscape of Grey with a few splotches of red smeared across the asphalt, the world McCarthy has created is undoubtedly grim, however amidst the blood and corpses we are given a brutally honest story of human struggle. Struggle which captures our hearts as we breathe each breath and take each step with our desperate heroes.

We see these stark circumstances through the eyes of a father, who must at all cost protect his son from dangers whilst simultaneously trying to be a good parent, and, let me tell you, it's pretty clear that doing that in between bullets and eating cockroaches is no easy feat. Though when we travel with the pair we experience the father's sadness and his fortitude, both of which become incredibly endearing, yet what really stands out is his son. The boy has only ever known the world for its sombre tones and knows only of colours from his old story books and collections of knick knacks he has collected along the road. Comparatively presented against his father's dire intensity, the young boy demonstrates that kindness and innocence are still profoundly powerful, teaching us with each word whom the true hero of our story is.

Each page is an intensely intimate insight into the hearts of fear and innocence and each time I pick up this book I am confronted yet again with a  picture that never fails to devour my mind. I would recommend this book to any and all readers - it is bleak, it is blunt, but most of all it is a captivating work of true beauty.

- Michael, QBD Plenty Valley

QBD Reviews: All The Light We Cannot See

Have you picked up a copy of our Book of the Month yet? We are loving it! It's a modern classic you cannot put down.

y648Winner of the Pulitzer prize. From highly acclaimed , multiple award-winning Anthony Doerr, the beautiful, stunningly ambitious instant New York times Best Seller about a blind French girl and a German boy whose paths collide in occupied France as both try to survive the devastation of WWII, no matter what comes their way, they always manage to look at the light in every situation. This book is getting a lot of well deserved attention for it's unique story and it's beautiful writing.

'It starts late in WWII, as the Allies begin shelling the French city of Saint-Malo to drive out the remaining NAZI troops. Our two main characters are Marie Laure, a blind French girl who fled here with her uncle from Paris, and Werner, a radio expert in the German army who is stuck in the city when the attack begins. We jump back and forth in time, between the two characters' perspectives to see how both young people were brought to this place.' - Rick Riordan

With this book getting praise from every angle, it's one of the best reads we've had so far. With beautiful language throughout, with a gripping story line, you could read this book countless times and absorb more each time and will want it to last each time you read it. A title that will never date and will be known for it's literature beauty. Do yourself a favour and give it a read, you won't regret it!
- Monique, QBD Woodgrove