Meghan's Reviews > Your Own, Sylvia: A Verse Portrait of Sylvia Plath

Your Own, Sylvia by Stephanie Hemphill
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Apr 05, 12

bookshelves: engl-492-required-reading
Read from April 03 to 05, 2012

This was my first experience with reading a book in verse, so it took awhile for me to really get in to it. I had read a few pieces of Sylvia Plath's work in the past and I had been familiar with her strange demeanor, but this book gave readers a look in to her personal life with the perspectives of several people who had varying relationships with Sylvia. Because the story of her suicide is so well-known, I knew from the beginning that the story had a tragic turn. However, this didn't distract me from being pleasantly entertained by her actions as a teenager in the first third of the book. Although this book is technically a work of fiction, the footnotes helped legitimize the stories of the narrators. The second half of the book really reeled me in and I became engrossed in her devastating life with her husband, Ted Hughes, and her two children. Sylvia's real life story adds more depth to her literature that was deep to begin with. It brings a somber tone to many pieces of her work because we are clued in on her day-to-day life.

This would be a great book for students to read when they are introduced to poetry. Because of the alternating perspectives, the students would need to pay close attention while reading this book. The footnotes are incredibly helpful for students who may be confused with a poem because they can read what the purpose of that specific poem was. However, as the story progressed, I became a bit frustrated because I wanted to get in to the reading flow as I read the poetry, but the footnotes made it difficult. I think the notes definitely bring a biographic element to the book, which I think is important, so I had to overlook that detail.

Overall, I thought it was an enjoyable read that I could definitely see it being used in a classroom.
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