FABClub (Female Authors Book Club) discussion

Bitter Fame: A Life of Sylvia Plath
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Group Reads > Bitter Fame: A Life of Sylvia Plath (August '14 MM)

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Taylor (seffietay) We have read some Sylvia Plath poetry, now let's read about Sylvia herself!

Taylor (seffietay) I'm not sure if anyone else is tackling this one, but I'm finding it really strongly written and a good thorough look at the inner life of Syliva. It's interesting to see how much of her life Sylvia left on paper for voyeurs to analyze after her death. It's a bit strange to have so many of her personal letters and journal entries available in the public domain... I would probably die of embarrassment haha.

message 3: by Taylor (last edited Sep 13, 2014 03:18PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Taylor (seffietay) I've finished this, as well as a collection of Plath's poetry that I read alongside the biography, and found it fascinating. Anne reconstructs Sylvia's life based on her letters, journal entries, poetry and prose, and written accounts from family and friends. The portrait of Sylvia painted by these sources shows a complex woman who was at times petty, selfish, aggressive and anti-social, but still very much a brilliant writer and academic talent. I found it very curious that the book lets Ted off quite lightly while so many blame him for what happened to Sylvia. This book alleges that Sylvia was completely in control of her own happiness and ultimately her own fate, and that the misery she suffered was largely caused by her own very complicated and oftentimes abrasive personality. In addition to the semi-unflattering image of Sylvia formed by this book, it also illustrates her as a sad, lonely woman still very much hurt by the sudden death of her father when she was a small child, and desperate to fit in with society. The power of her Ariel poems, written in the months leading up to her suicide, is even more immense after reading about her quality of life at the time.

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