I read a review of the book recently by a chick who gave it 2 of 5 stars because the story was depressing. She said it was bad because it had no happy ending. First of all... are you serious? Some of the best literature I've read lacks that sunshine happy ending. And I would argue that the end was positive. The bell jar was lifted. It may descend at any time but, for someone that struggles with mental illness, this is a happy ending.
It interested me for a few reasons, beyond the quality of the prose. First, I felt like I could relate to Esther. This concerned me for obvious reasons. She went crazy. But in the beginning, the way she drew herself away from the world and felt separated. I think we all feel that way sometimes. We all have a little craziness in us. I felt this way much more a few years ago. My freshman and sophomore year were very difficult for me. I did draw away a lot. I understood Esther I think.
The book also served the purpose of making me very interested in Sylvia. I know the novel wasn't completely biographical, but I read it that way. Now I want to know so much more about her life. What is it about people who kill themselves that is
so interesting? I've also always had a fascination with Virginia Wolf partially for this reason.
Anyways, this has been a bit rambling. But I would recommend The Bell Jar. It's a good read.