Belzhar

August 21, 2017

Author: Meg Wolitzer.

Summary:

If life were fair, then Jam would still be living in her house in New Jersey and would be spending time with her cool English boyfriend Reeve. Instead, she’s at a home for troubled, genius teens. This special school is known for teaching a class on one book. Jam is chosen to take this class and the book that will be analyzed is The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath. Additionally, the students have to keep a journal in which they are supposed to confront the truth and resolve issues from their past. Will Jam be able to overcome her traumas?

(Published summary)

My Thoughts:

I wonder what you call this genre… not exactly magical realism, but that almost feels closest. Not fantasy. Not realistic. Hm. Anyway. I like the genre type, and the pacing and suspense throughout the story was quite good, but the main character aggravated me. I don’t want to spoil the whole ending, but I was severely disappointed to find out her real backstory.

Content Review:

Sexual Content: “Among us only Hannah Petroski had an actual, long-term boyfriend. The two of them were really serious, and had almost had sex.”/ ‘Seth put his hand up my shirt and on my bra and whispered in a serious voice “You are very womanly,'”/ ‘The first door we opened revealed two people in a tangle on top of a pile of coats.”/ Kissing./ ‘The worst friend problem I’ve ever dealt with […] whether it was okay for Ryan to carry a condom in his pocket, “for when you change your mind'”./ Character notes that while boys and girls can’t be together in the dorms, there’s obviously no rule about girls, so her roommate and her girlfriend are exploiting this. More kissing, between boy/girl, they take shirts off./  Roommate says her girlfriend’s mother caught her and won’t be letting her come back to school because it’s turning her into “a female homosexual”./ Boy tells about finding his father watching a sex tape of himself (father) and another woman who was not his wife.

Language: 16 scatological terms, 13 F-words, 7 hell, 3 bloody, 2 derogatory terms

Violence: Boy tells about the time, due to his carelessness, their barn burned down and all the goats died. Girl tells about the drunk-driver car-crash where she was crippled for life.

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