The Last Days of Sylvia Plath
By Jillian Becker
(St. Martin's Press, Hardcover, 9780312315986, 80pp.)
Publication Date: May 1, 2003
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Giving Up is Jillian Becker’s intimate account of her brief but extraordinary time with Sylvia Plath during the winter of 1963, the last months of the poet’s life. Abandoned by Ted Hughes, Sylvia found companionship and care in the home of Becker and her husband, who helped care for the estranged couple’s two small children while Sylvia tried to rest. In clear-eyed recollections unclouded by the intervening decades, Becker describes the events of Sylvia’s final days and suicide: her physical and emotional state, her grief over Hughes’s infidelity, her mysterious meeting with an unknown companion the night before her suicide, and the harsh aftermath of her funeral. Alongside this tragic conclusion is a beautifully rendered portrait of a friendship between two very different women.
Jillian Becker is the author of several novels and works of nonfiction, including The PLO and Hitler’s Children. She lives in England.