Your Own, Sylvia
That was unexpected.I spent the first half of the book bemoaning the fact that I was reading yet another book in verse when I know that books in verse are really, really not my thing. It's true. I hate them. They just don't speak to me. But then I started the second half of the book, and while I still wish it hadn't been in verse, I found myself connecting rather strongly with the story.I find myself kind of...enraged...on behalf of Sylvia Plath. I realize that she suffered from depression, the really dark, bad kind, and probably would have no matter what. But it's hard to believe that she wouldn't have been better in a more modern society, where a woman academic, a poet, a scholar wouldn't have been seen as "unfeminine." Where she wouldn't have been encouraged to abandon her own talents, her own career, to be a wife, housekeeper, and mother. Where she wouldn't have felt pressured to be everything to everyone, jamming her art into stolen moments. Where she wouldn't have had to manage a home, two children, her husband's effing career (and why couldn't he manage this himself? HE wasn't raising two children and keeping house...), and trying to build her own career on top of that.Which brings me to Ted Hughes. I'm trying really hard to be fair to this man. It cannot have been easy living with a mentally ill wife. It must have been impossible. BUT NO ONE IN THE WORLD COULD HAVE HANDLED IT AS BADLY AS HE DID. He soaks up her youthful adulation, watching as this beautiful young poet who he claimed to admire sacrificed her poetry to be his little wife and cheerleader. Watching as she juggled their two children and her poetry, marveling that it was possible as he gallivants around, not offering much support. And once all that she had to give had been wrung out of her, once she was tired and sinking into isolation and depression, once she was no longer fun, he left her. And he didn't just leave her. Oh, no. He smacked her around emotionally. He had an affair. He left without warning or any hint of where he had gone. He stopped seeing the children. He told her that he had never even wanted children. So why would he accept any responsibility for them? Right? RIGHT?? He said that he had never grown tired of living in London, as he previously told her. He had just grown tired of living there with her. This woman, who he knew suffered from depression, was decimated. And he should have known. I have never in my life read about a bigger ass. I have sympathy for Sylvia. I'm not sure she could have been saved, but it feels like Ted Hughes killed her. And worse, this book even details a conversation he had with his pregnant, married mistress, where they casually wondered if Sylvia would kill herself. RAGE. ALL THE RAGE IN THE WORLD.It's also worth mentioning that the aforementioned mistress also killed herself when Ted reportedly left her for another woman. She also killed their daughter. This dude was a winner. And to add insult to injury, when posthumously publishing Sylvia's final poems, he rearranged them to suit his fancy, burying the poems she considered most important and her finest work in the middle of the book instead of anchoring it as she intended.A sad story. Very, very sad.