Diane Wood Middlebrook's account of Anne Sexton's life is both absorbing and well written, with Sexton's life being neatly divided into sensible chunks for the less than casual reader - which makes it ideal for the university student who does not have time to commit to the whole biography, but who wants to go one step further than an index search. Saying this, however, once you start it is very hard to put down. Sexton's life is fascinating: raised by questionable parents and traumatised by the mental illness of her Aunt "Nana" (also called Anne), Sexton developed into an adult with a tendency to fall into trances, and experience severe hysteria. Indeed, despite the fact she gave international and highly dramatic poetry readings, she often needed a chaperone to accompany her outdoors due to her intense fear
If you can get hold of a copy and whether you're a fan of Anne Sexton or not, I heartily recommend this penetrating and fascinating biography of an icon of 20th century poetry, excellently composed by Diane Wood Middlebrook.
Compulsively readable and written with a clear eye and a degree of empathy that is quite rare, I recommend this bio highly. Anne Sexton's life could be so messy, yet she is and should be remembered for the incredible poems she wrote.