I recently read The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath for my university course. When I saw the book at the top of the book list I sighed. I’ve read her poetry, and don’t think much of it. I dreaded the thought of having to read an entire novel by her. But it had to be done. I started reading it about a week before the lecture, and had finished it a day later. Its not a long novel about 200 pages, but that doesn’t matter. From the first sentence I was hooked. The novel is nothing like her poetry. It tells the story of a young woman who wants to be a poet and is struggling to find her place in the world. As the story progresses it becomes obvious that she is suffering from depression. Its impossible to read the book without seeing connections to Plath’s life, as it was only less than a month after it was published that she took her own life.

The book itself is perfectly written, there isn’t a word out of place. The imagery, the plot, the characters, everything fitted so well in the short novel. I took my time while reading it not wanting to miss anything. I’ve read that she wrote it very quickly without making much revision to it and if that is true then it just makes the novel even more impressive. I’ve spoken to a few people about it on the course, and most say the same thing: They wouldn’t have picked it up if it wasn’t on the book list, but they are really glad they did.

I really recommend that everyone reads this book. It is one of the best books I have ever read, and instantly went towards the top of my favourites. It even made me think about going back and rereading her poetry, because I know that’s the only other thing she wrote. I cannot recommend this book enough.

Anyway back to my writing after finishing To The Other I handed out a couple of copies to people I know to look through it and used this time to start on the second book in the series. I knew straight away that there was going to be more than one book to tell this tale, and wanted to write the second one as soon as possible. Once the people I had given the books too had read it I started editing the novel. I’ve gone through the first half of the book in detail looking for errors and making corrections that others have pointed out. I’m sure I’m not the only one, but I hate editing. I just wanted to carry on writing the second book. Once I reached the half way point in editing I put that to one side and decided that I was going to spend the next week writing the second story. At the moment I have just reached the 10000 word mark, which is about a fifth of what I’m aiming the story to be. I will carry on writing like this until next week when I will go back to editing the first one. Its horrible knowing that I am going to have to go through it again and again, but I need to to do it, so not much I can do about it.

The title of this post. Green day’s album trilogy. American Idiot is one of my favourite albums, it made me love rock music. Its the first album I remember buying, and its one that I always have on my mp3 player, or next to my CD player. From American Idiot I discovered Nimrod and Dookie and everything else they have produced. So earlier this year when Billie Joe announced that they were releasing three albums at the end of year, and start of the next I was excited. I couldn’t wait. I went out and bought Uno the day it was released and did the same with Dos. It was then announced that to apologise for the cancelling of their tour, due to Billie being in rehab, that Tre would be brought forward to a December release rather than in January. I’ve listened to all three albums a lot. They aren’t as good as American Idiot or Dookie, but they are still good albums. When I listened to them back to back I realised that there are a few songs that could have been missed out. Too many fillers. Some songs like Baby Eyes from Dos, and Fell From You from Uno were forgettable. It makes me think that it would have worked better as a double album, and that a trilogy was too ambitious for the band. They’re not the best albums but they are definitely good, and songs like Nuclear Family, Let yourself go and Dirty Rotten Ba*****s aren’t going to be forgotten any time soon.

I also, for some reason, find myself really liking he song Ashley from Dos. Maybe its just me.

Thanks for reading



About ashleymanningwriter

Young Adult Fiction writer. Horror and fantasy blended together.
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4 Responses to UNO, DOS, TRE!!!

  1. Margaret Fisher says:

    I discovered The Bell Jar in the same way Ashley – on my reading list – and felt the same way about it as you have so eloquently described. In fact I think I shall look it up again after reading your comments and read it again. I am not too keen on some of Plath’s poetry either – although I must admit that some of her imagery is second to none. Have you read any Ted Hughes? Now there is a poet of the natural world … whenever I think of Plath it brings Hughes to mind, for obvious reasons I suppose.

    I’m looking forward to reading To The Other. The title itself is intriguing – as any ‘good’ title should be! Good luck with the editing, I always found redrafting a bore but it has to be done doesn’t it?


  2. Thanks for the recommendation to read The Bell Jar. I’ve never read any Sylvia Plath. Thanks for liking my post, and good luck with your books.


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