Oh, dear Bibliophilias, you might want to cover your eyes.
And then click. Because you can't not. Click and behold the latest reincarnation of The Bell Jar book cover.
We’re sorry, but we think there is a valuable lesson here.
Anyone who has read The Bell Jar knows that it’s about the intense breakdown of a girl who is smothered by her confusion with sex and femininity (among other things.) So why does this book cover feature a (kind of old looking) Esther Greenwood putting on lipstick? Strip away the title and one might think they’re looking at a copy of “I LOVE BEING PRETTTTYYYY!!!” or “DOES THIS LIP SHADE MAKE MY BUTT LOOK BIG?!?!?” (We are not sure those books exist, but honestly, after other books we’ve seen, you never know.) And it's pink! PINK! If you feel the ground rumbling it's probably Sylvia Plath rolling over in her grave.
For those of us who have read and loved this book (that’s a lot of us—it’s been intriguing readers since 1963), it’s disheartening to see art that seems so far from the message and tone of the story. A quick Google search shows past covers that have been dark and beautiful expressions of pain, mystery, confusion and lonliness. We know you’re not supposed to judge a book by its cover, but this one seems like a slap in the face.
So how did this slip through the cracks? We’re sure there was reason behind the decision to Barbie-fied The Bell Jar. Perhaps market research told publishers that this is what people want. But does that mean that it’s what publishers should give to them?
If you saw this book and you had never read it before, would you want to read it?