Like most women who once had a music collection dominated by Fiona Apple and PJ Harvey, a large Livejournal following, and aspirations of moving to New York because people would “get me” there, I had an intense relationship with The Bell Jar. Though I no longer spend whole weekends wrapped in my bedcovers, weeping over Esther Greenwood’s misfortunes, I still have enough of a soft spot for the novel that my first reaction to Faber’s new Bell Jar cover (released to commemorate the book’s 50th anniversary) was, “What is this monstrosity? Why are they pretending that The Bell Jar is 2013′s new sexy summer beach read?!”
The Bell Jar‘s glamorous new cover has nothing to do with Sylvia Plath’s semi-autobiographical story; to my recollection, nothing was written of Esther’s beauty routine in the mental hospital, 50 years before Cat Marnell would try to corner that market. Faber might as well have completed The Bell Jar’s“chick lit-ification” by replacing the woman on the cover with a giant stiletto and renaming the book The Empty La Mer Jar. Book covers don’t need to be overtly feminine or reminiscent of Twilight to attract female readers, especially a well-established classic like The Bell Jar — but clearly no one has clued in publishers. Check out some other Bell Jar covers below — the good, the bad, and the ugly — and feel free to send us your Sisterhood of the Traveling Bell Jar fan fiction while you’re at it.