To take the place of a book set in the summer for my 2016 book bingo, I read Pain, Parties, Work: Sylvia Plath in New York, Summer 1953 by Elizabeth Winder.
According to Amazon, this book is a compelling look at a young Sylvia Plath and the life-changing month that would lay the groundwork for her seminal novel, The Bell Jar.
In May of 1953, a twenty-one-year-old Plath arrived in New York City, the guest editor of Mademoiselle’s annual College Issue. She lived at the Barbizon Hotel, attended the ballet, went to a Yankee game, and danced at the West Side Tennis Club. She was supposed to be having the time of her life. But what would follow was, in Plath’s words, twenty-six days of pain, parties, and work, that ultimately changed the course of her life.
I had this book on my to be read list for a really long time- mainly for the gorgeous cover. That lady looks so fancy! Of course I want to read a book with a fancy lady on it! It, like The Bell Jar, was not necessarily a happy book (the books have parallel instances, so you can imagine.) But what I liked about this was that you heard from people that spent that summer in New York with Plath- we got to hear their accounts of the famous author from that summer and read excerpts of what she wrote; it really was a great insight to her life that summer and what it helped to see what caused her to have such a massive breakdown.
If you’ve read The Bell Jar, I highly recommend this book; I think you’ll find it as fascinating as I did. If you haven’t read The Bell Jar and are interested in doing so- I would suggest reading that before reading Pain, Parties, Work so you can recall the events from the fictional book and how they parallel to her real life. Although, it might be interesting to read the real accounts and connect to them while reading the fiction. Either way, I strongly suggest that one be read with the other.