What I’m Reading Now

Mad Girl's Love SongTwo weeks ago I was also discussing What I’m Reading Now, with that list capped off by Meg Wolitzer’s Belzhar, a young adult novel that tangentially relies on the life and works of Sylvia Plath to support a small handful of the story’s themes. I’ve read Plath’s The Bell Jar, Ariel, and assorted brief articles on the author, but all of that was years ago, when I was in college. Encountering Plath in Belzhar, now, prompted me to head into the non-fiction stacks, where I found Mad Girl’s Love Song: Sylvia Plath and Life Before Ted by Andrew Wilson. As the subtitle suggests, this book is Young Sylvia leading up to, at least, Just Met Ted Sylvia. Wilson delves into Plath’s journals and letters, her mother’s letters (and, I think, her journal), and utilizes information gleaned from interviews with friends, former boyfriends, etc, to paint a more complete picture of an author commonly known for specific events in her life: her turbulent marriage to Ted Hughes, her suicide at the age of thirty. I’ve chosen to read Mad Girl’s Love Song slowly, one chapter every night until it’s done, and so I’m still getting to know Pre-Smith Years Sylvia. She’s a driven, complicated, fascinating girl, as you might imagine or expect. I am debating reading, at some point, Carl Rollyson’s American Isis: The Life and Art of Sylvia Plath, Erica Wagner’s Ariel’s Gift:Ted Hughes, Sylvia Plath, and the Story of Birthday Letters, Janet Malcolm’s The Silent Woman: Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes, and/or Plath’s unabridged journals, but that’s for several other future What I’m Reading Now posts.

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