I guess I should start this off by very emphatically stating that I love Sylvia Plath, especially The Bell Jar, but also her poetry.
But whoever thought that there was any meaningful reason to publish this story in a hardback book is not a responsible steward of her literary legacy. It actively works against a good interpretation of that role and harms her status.
This is a story she wrote as an undergrad, and it was rejected. It should have been rejected from publication. It’s not good, it’s juvenile, and it’s clearly amateurish. I hope that rejection motivated her to look further into the work and maybe even decide to not submit it again in any form remotely close to this. This story has all the same appeal that a lot of undergrad literature has…that aha! moment that is the literary equivalent of liking your own post. That’s all fine…it’s part of writing, and Sylvia Plath is like every other writer of all time to think too highly of sophomoric writing (if she even did!). But this feels shameless. It’s not couched in any kind of context to help us better understand her process, it’s not part of a retrospective collection, and it’s not connected to a literary discussion of the text. It’s a hardback book presented as if the story is worthwhile to read for its literary merit, and it isn’t.
So I hate this kind of thing. It’s plumbing the depths of a mostly dried up well, and it happens all the time.