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Essential reading for all who appreciate Plath's work
on 16 April 2001
Since Plath's suicide in 1963, many people have attempted to search for answers in Plath's writing as to why she chose to take her life. This collection of journals is satisfying not because it can provide answers to why she killed herself (we will never have the definitive answer to that, and besides, her last two journals prior to the suicide are not included here - one was lost, the other destroyed by Ted Hughes). No, reading these journals is satisfying because the writer exudes pure talent. Whilst reading you are forced to stand back, awe-struck, at the skill with which she could write, even at the age of eighteen. What we see is someone who is driven, someone with aspirations, and a desire to be successful in everything she does. And yet, alongside this ambition, is someone full of rage and insecurity. Plath's desires battled against one another - the need to be a well-respected, published writer: 'I depend too desperately on getting my poems, my little glib poems, accepted by the New Yorker', and the desire to be a wife and mother, and enter the world of pleasant domesticity: 'I long to permeate the matter of this world: to become anchored to life by laundry and lilacs, daily bread and fried eggs...'
I could not recommend this book more highly, whether you are an admirer of Plath's work or not, and anyone wishing to become a writer themselves could certainly do worse than to look to collection for inspiration.