“Expect depth and razor sharp wit in this YA novel from the author of The Interestings.” – Entertainment Weekly “A prep school tale with a supernatural- romance. Early in Meg Wolitzer’s acclaimed novel “The Interestings,” two boys at summer In “Belzhar,” her second novel for young readers — after the. Belzhar by Meg Wolitzer – review. ‘Belzhar is a mind-blowing read and I thoroughly enjoyed reading it from cover to cover’. Ayesha. Thu 19 Feb.

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Belzhar by Meg Wolitzer – review

She is also the inspiration behind Belzharthe new young adult novel from author Meg Wolitzer. At its most basic level, Belzhar is a novel about a teenage girl whose desire has been unrequited. But the novel is also a complex exploration of the dynamics between narrative unreliability and the invention of reality. Jam and her classmates discover that the journals are a portal through which they can re-experience their pre-trauma existence. The first of the classmates to discover this is Sierra.

Writing in the journal feels like being part of a vivid dream. Jam has lucid thoughts but recognizes the fiction of the universe she occupies. Jam and her classmates establish rules for their journal-writing: Unlike some of her classmates who share stories of their former lives while in Belzhar, Jam does not reveal the details of her ordeal. Spunky wheelchair-bound Casey describes the night she became paralyzed after her mother nelzhar drunk.

Perfectionist Marc shares the story about the night his family fell apart when he accidentally discovered that belzhhar father had had an affair, and told his mother.


Book review: Belzhar by Meg Wolitzer | South China Morning Post

Sulky Griffin remains an alluring mystery to Jam and does not share his story. As the novel progresses, however, Jam and her classmates become wolizter friends.

Her friendships provide her with an opportunity to demystify a strange experience. The small, intimate setting of the boarding school not unlike the summer camp in The Interestings provides a site where Jam and her friends remain in close quarters.

Because Jam and her friends are all accessing alternate realities, and because they establish a routine where they meet once a week to discuss their encounters, Jam bonds with her peers.

What has previously been an alienating experience for Jam becomes one that she can use to connect with others. Although Jam and her friends each encounter their own memories in Belzhar, the presence of her friends gives her comfort and alleviates her loneliness. In Belzhar, Jam and her lost boyfriend Reeve are once again together. She replays her relationship with Reeve on loop, mixing memory with imagination.

She examines her attraction to him, her desire for him. Each trip to Belzhar gives Jam the chance to analyze her story with Reeve. Belzhar is a restricted dimension, a dystopic utopia. In Belzhar, Jam can only experience events that have actually happened and she can only remain in Belzhar for a limited period of time.

She cannot bring new experiences to Belzhar.

Each trip to Belzhar is rooted in an event that occurred before Woiltzer lost Reeve. Jam and Reeve spend most of the time in Belzhar kissing, talking, playing out scenes that have already happened. But when Jam tries to take things further, when she tries to move beyond just kissing, when she tries to speak about her current life in boarding school with Reeve, it is impossible, and Reeve is uninterested.

She cannot remain in Belzhar forever. And while the Belzhar hallucinations are alluring, Jam ultimately gains the emotional energy to move forward. It turns out that the loss that Jam mourns, the death of Reeve, is metaphorical, not physical. The relationship with Reeve that she describes, and her experiences in Belzhar, veer from the events that actually occurred.


The trauma that she endured is different from what she led us to believe throughout the novel. In fact, she has been sent to the Wooden Brlzhar because of her inability to tell her own story accurately and, therefore, because of her unreliability as a narrator in her own life.

Jam cannot adequately process what has happened to her and instead lives within her imagination and her own fictions. Her trauma is not the death of a boyfriend but the distortion of her personal story of unrequited love.


Her emotional fragility is her narrative unreliability. In this sense, Jam is an analysand of a Plath poem. Jam accesses Belzhar because she is an unreliable narrator, because she is unable to accurately tell her own story. Belzhar — the hallucination, the trance, the dream, the selective memories — mesmerizes Jam because there she can retell, replay, relive her unreliable story again and again and again.

Going to Belzhar itself is a deliberate invention of narrative. Only when Jam realizes that her access to Belzhar is finite — that is, she will no longer be able to have these hallucinations once the semester ends and her journal is complete — does she begin to confront reality.

How much of reality is our own invention? We create, narrate, select, and curate the images and plotlines of our existence. We tell ourselves stories — stories in which the world drops dead, stories in which we have to kill — in order to live. We invent realities to sustain ourselves.

Belzhar is ultimately about facing and writing what best tells the story of you. By submitting this form, you are granting: Thank you for signing up!