#onthebookshelf Plath, Love Letters To The Dead and Before I Go To Sleep

Last week was busy. The working week flew by as usual in a flurry or Mary Berry success and multiple birthdays which meant a lot of cake- personal favourite was the Victoria sponge I had an alarmingly large slice of on Friday right after Friday Chips in the canteen. In between cake stuffing, I managed to read a few books, sticky fingered and leaving smudges of buttercream behind, I’m sure.

The Bell Jar – Sylvia Plath


This week’s ‘Book I Should’ve Read’ was The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath. I’ve avoided this book like the plague and people are always surprised to learn I haven’t read it.  The reason behind that was a much admired English teacher of mine once claimed her friend had gone mad after reading Plath’s only novel- as if the madness of Esther Greenwood allowed her to recognise her own. My teacher said if you were feeling in a delicate state of mind (and what 15 year old isn’t?) then avoid like the plague.  And so I did.  And maybe I missed the prime time in my life when you’re supposed to connect with that book so profoundly.

The description and lyrical turns of phrases were of course beautiful and recognizable from her poetry and her detachment and treatment of mental health interesting- but when it comes down to it- in terms of mental health ‘stories’-  I much prefer something like The Yellow Wallpaper.  Maybe I go in for the high drama rather than Plath’s committal for the truth- perhaps that is what is too scary about it for me.

I’m glad I’ve read it and don’t have to feel less of a literary girl for not having done so, but it’s not a favourite, or won’t be treasured but simply ticked off.

Rating 3.5 Stars Makes me want to eat lots of caviar and avocados.  Minus the crab.

Love Letters to the Dead – Ava Dallaira


I’ve become a little bit obsessed with YA literature and I don’t even feel a little bit ashamed.  Last week I talked about Green’s The Fault in Our Stars, Divergent has come out this week to massive excitement (was a YA series first which I’m told is riveting) and this week I picked up this one- or rather downloaded.

This book deals with grief, growing up, lesbianism, divorce- and a million other things all at once.  It’s dark, heartbreakingly sad but still typically teenagery too.

Laurel is given an assignment to write a letter to a dead person by her English teacher but never hands it in. Instead she writes to Kurt Cobain, Amelia Earhart, Amy Winehouse and River Phoenix, amongst others, about the tragic death of her older sister May who she worshipped. Writing to these immortalised tragic figures, Laurel begins to unravel the complexities of her grief often making for uncomfortable reading.

Not your typical teen read but very heavily musically influenced

4* Makes you want to listen to Amy Winehouse over and over.

Before I go to Sleep- SJ Watson


Ok, so I’ve done a book I should’ve read, one that’s out soon and now this. I’ve been meaning and wanting to read for ages and like The Fault in Our Stars, this is going to be a big movie release, this time with Colin Firth and Nicole Kidman.

This book was incredible! I started and finished it in a few hours- something I haven’t done with a book in a while. A crowd pleaser, a real page turner and an absolutely brilliant twist at the end.  My only criticism is the frustrating ending! But I suppose that I also what makes it so damn good too!

The story follows a woman who loses her memory every time she falls asleep.  Each day she awakes, scared by the man she wakes up next to even though it is her husband, confused by her forty year old reflection instead of her 20 year old mental self and having to rebuild her past every single day.  Good job she has a loving husband to help her do that every day before she sleeps and forgets again, right?

5 star- you’ll forget about everything else you’re meant to do when you pick up this book






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