Parents' Guide to

Your Own, Sylvia

By Matt Berman, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 14+

Fictionalized bio in verse a great intro to Plath's poetry.

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This biography, written in verse, is an excellent introduction to Plath's life and work for English classes and may even hook a few skeptical students. Teens who have discovered Plath on their own will be enthralled and may be inspired to try some of their own poetry in her style.

There are a few frustrations here. The book would have benefited from a lot more photos. Also, at least some quotes, if not the full texts, of some of Plath's poems would have been welcome, though they certainly are easy enough to find elsewhere. Nonetheless, this lyrical introduction to the dramatic, all-too-brief life of a great and influential poet rewards rereading; the author uses many verse forms, layers of metaphor and voices, and subtle references to Plath's own way with language. Plath's life raises many topics worth discussing, including mental illness and its relationship to art and gender roles in the '50s and '60s. Highly recommended for high school and even college English and writing classes.

Book Details

  • Author: Stephanie Hemphill
  • Genre: Biography
  • Book type: Non-Fiction
  • Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf
  • Publication date: March 1, 2007
  • Publisher's recommended age(s): 12 - 12
  • Number of pages: 261
  • Last updated: July 12, 2017

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