Belzhar by Meg Wolitzer
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Based on Goodreads reviews, there seem to be some mixed feelings about this novel but I have to say that I don't understand that ... I absolutely loved this novel. Meg Wolitzer has become an author that I can rely on for great reading experiences.
I will say that the fact that Sylvia Plath is my favorite poet and that this book has a Plath tie was a draw for me. It's one of the reasons that I picked it up so quickly. And I think if you're a Sylvia Plath fan, this novel might be something of interest to you.
I love the way that Meg Wolitzer writes and tells a story. And this one really resonated with me - especially the teenage girl that I was back in the early 1990s. I love the idea of The Wooden Barn (a school for 'emotionally fragile, highly intelligent teenagers') and I loved the idea of the Special Topics in English class. What a unique and cool idea! I think the ability to just go with the story and not think too much about the details makes the experience of this novel much better. I just enjoyed where the story took me and tried not to get too focused on the specifics of how, why, etc. I think that really helped me to enjoy the story to a fuller extent.
I ultimately found this novel to be very moving and to really give me a lot to think about in terms of grief, growing up, guilt, and acceptance. I'm not sure the entire story is technically plausible but I didn't find that to be a big deal - I just went with it and I think the novel has an incredible emotional pull that has stuck with me for weeks. I'm still thinking about to things in this novel which is the sign of something that really resonated with me. Great story, great writing, great characters. I just loved it. I can see that it won't be for everyone but I just loved it! I highly recommend this one!