I agree, vladimir998. Plath did write some beautiful poems, but no more exceptional than others written at the time. Her suicide made her appeal to a wider audience—gave her ‘anguished’ poetry the ring of authenticity. Plath committed suicide in her kitchen while her two small children slept upstairs; her philandering husband (who WAS a stronger poet than she) promptly moved them in with him and his mistress, Assia Wevill. In 1969, Assia gassed herself AND their small daughter, Shura. I understand that the Hughes kids, Nicholas and Frieda, then spent most of their childhoods in boarding schools. He seemed to have a very lonely upbringing, if you want to call Plath’s abandonment and Hughes’ indifference an upbringing. Poor Nicholas. I saw his photograph a few years ago; he had a strong resemblance to his father. A very handsome young man, and obviously very bright, as well.
I read CANCER WARD and right after that THE BELL JAR.
The Jar is Prath's autobiographical prose work about an upper middle class girl with the world at her feet but who makes herself miserable.
CANCER WARD is a semi-autobiographical novel about a man from the gulag who has next-to-nothing and yet loves life and people.
The book is about life and the value of it. In real life Solzhenitsyn experienced war as a soldier, arrest, conviction, an eight-year severe sentence in the camps, cancer, internal exile, and external exile. Yet he loved life while Prath experienced a comfortable bourgeois life and killed herself.
I think we should read people's work who experienced and did extraordinary things rather than those who have only experienced comfort and writing.