Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Wish I had a

I'm re-reading The Bell Jar for a class.  I first read this in my second year of high school, and didn't like it very much.  I expected it to be something completely different and couldn't really grasp her subtleties.

I thought it would be some kind of handbook to young adulthood, a mystery map with dotted lines and arrows for the wary and different.  I assumed, like a lot of people dumbly do, that the suicide somehow indicated some kind of hard-edged sophistication and esoteric knowledge that others could find in her words, hidden like little easter eggs.  I assumed something similar about Colette and sex and was equally disappointed.

Well, scratch that, because I love The Bell Jar.  She is so crazily artfully brilliant with words, I am underlining and folding pages of this library copy only to find I'm turning page corners that have already been creased.  Too insanely, understatedly good.

It's been so long since I have been free to read prose of any enjoyable kind that I'm amazed by how good it is, and how fast the reading goes.  I've been blearily hovering over one miserable textbook page after another for a while now, always looking for any excuse to be released, that I was worried that I no longer liked to READ. 

In the book, Esther's first vaguely sexual encounter with her boyfriend is a perfect mirror to my first vague encounter.  Almost identical.  It hadn't yet occurred when I first read the book.

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