The Last Days of Sylvia Plath
St. Martin's Press, Hardcover, 9780312315986, 80pp.
Publication Date: May 1, 2003
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.
"I met her after she and her husband Ted Hughes had parted. We quickly became friends but only for the last few months of her life. She was lonely, almost friendless as well as husbandless. The flattering courtiers had departed with the king." —from Giving Up
“Jillian Becker fits in more good sense and compassion on the subject of Sylvia Plath than books ten times as long.”—The Independent (London)