...a male & female point of view...We are two former coworkers who share similar ideas on what's absurd...or just plain funny...thought we could offer a unique view on life & stuff...

Friday, May 26, 2006


A friend of mine convinced me to read The Bell Jar. I gave him Catcher in the Rye to read & he gave me The Bell Jar. Both books are so informally written & unfussy in their language (just a pleasure to read). In the forward it's written..."the book has an immediacy of a letter just opened"...I agree with that sentiment completely. I felt like this story spoke to me about the big questions & how to sort through & relate to them (how to deal with life & inner demons & how to be true to yourself & figure out what it all means) & do it all with grace & humor & courage with lots of frailty thrown in.

I had preconceived notions about the book before I even picked it up. I told another friend that I was reading it & she gave me that look. She said something about it being depressing that she killed herself at the end of the story & I thought...she does? Then I started reading the book & from the start you know she doesn't...that she makes it through for a while & while her life ultimately ends sort of tragically...the book was so much more optimistic (& funny) than I thought it would be.

The way the story starts...with Esther obsessing about the upcoming electrocutions of the Rosenbergs pulled me right in...does everyone have thoughts like that that they can't shake? I was consumed with images of this silly bear cub that was running around frantically in Livingston the other day...they kept buzzing the poor soul in helicopters & trying to catch him & the whole thing got under my skin, upset me & refused to leave my head. Like she said...I'm stupid about electrocutions (cruelty).

This part was written just for me...she said selfishly & smiled:

"There must be quite a few things a hot bath won't cure, but I don't know many of them...

Whenever I'm sad I'm going to die, or so nervous I can't sleep, or in love with somebody I won't be seeing for a week, I slump down just so far and then I say: "I'll go take a hot bath."

I meditate in the bath. The water needs to be very hot, so hot you can barely stand putting your foot in it. Then you lower yourself, inch by inch, till the water's up to your neck.

I remember the ceiling over every bathtub I've stretched out in. I remember the texture of the ceilings and the cracks and the colors and the damp spots and the light fixtures. I remember the tubs, too: the antique griffin-legged tubs, the modern coffin-shaped tubs, the fancy pink marble tubs overlooking indoor lily ponds...I never feel so much myself as when I'm in a hot bath."

Ever see the movie "Big Fish"?... my favorite scene is when Albert Finney is in the tub with all his clothes on...he's dying & he says that he's drying out. BATHS ...I'm telling you...there's PEACE there & it's nice to hear other people believe & feel this way too.

What I really appreciate about the book is the fact that she did not ever blame anyone for what was happening to her...she blames mental illness & acknowledges that other things were factors in both her downfall & her resilience.

Can you tell that I always loved writing book reports as a kid? Thanks to my friend for steering me towards this story...do you think I could have enjoyed it more?

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