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Your Story, My Story by Connie Palman: book review

The inner world of Slyvia Plath and Ted Hughes

“to most people, we exist only in books, my bride and I”

How to live with someone who suffers anxiety, who is half-drowned in pain and battles their demons day in and day out. I read this book a couple of weeks ago and somehow I never found the appropriate words to justify this beautiful, melancholic piece of art.

This reminds me of a song by Frank Sinatra,

“Fools rush in where angels fear to tread

And so I come to you, my love, my heart above my head.

Though I see the danger there

if there's a chance for me, then I don't care”

There’s an enigma in loving the distant, unavailable person. It is almost like a challenge to conquer and to prove that love heals and love always wins. While playing with fire we do end up burning our hands. Connie Palman steps into the shoes of Ted Hughes as she writes about the life shared with Sylvia Plath and the life after she committed suicide. How the fans suspected that he forced her to commit suicide. Isn’t it common to vilify the partner, making them a living monster when their partners die? How rude can love be at times? On one hand, the fans crazily love their idol yet cannot tolerate the mere existence of their partners to a point that they are not even given permission to grieve. This book can be taken as looking into the very intimate, personal life of Sylvia Plath from a different lens. The author walked us through the couple's life as they created masterpieces and won awards. She also showed how unforgiving the world of literature can be at times and how the new, unorthodox writings are not always welcomed by the old. For example, in one part the author shared how unkind Marianne Moore was with Plath.

“Moore's rejection was malicious, humiliating, self-satisfied, cynical, and arrogant.”

Yet after her death, she was found to be in awe of her work.

The book while sharing the life of Ted Hughes raises the question of how we know so little about a person but that doesn’t stop us from attacking them. It also shows us how little we understand about mental health even today. We share this view that a smiling person cannot suffer depression or anxiety and it is always the partner that causes it. History tends to repeat itself and with the death of Sushant Singh Rajput, we saw how a woman was attacked and blamed without any substantial proof. Not caring even for once that she is going through her own pains too and how can a happy-looking actor even have such issues.

This book is a painful, triggering, gloomy tale of a sad man who lost his wife, who also lost his freedom to speak for himself until now. Love can be universal but the bond between two individuals can be different. For Ted, she was a goddess, a fierce woman whose love holds the power to burn down the city, but for Sylvia, it was dark, not enough. Love gave her immense pain, grief which reverberated in her works.

“𝑰 𝒍𝒐𝒗𝒆𝒅 𝒉𝒆𝒓- 𝑰’𝒗𝒆 𝒍𝒐𝒗𝒆𝒅 𝒉𝒆𝒓 𝒆𝒗𝒆𝒓 𝒔𝒊𝒏𝒄𝒆. 𝑰𝒇 𝒉𝒆𝒓 𝒔𝒖𝒊𝒄𝒊𝒅𝒆 𝒘𝒂𝒔 𝒕𝒉𝒆 𝒕𝒓𝒂𝒑 𝒔𝒉𝒆 𝒖𝒔𝒆𝒅 𝒕𝒐 𝒄𝒂𝒕𝒄𝒉 𝒎𝒆, 𝒕𝒐 𝒔𝒘𝒂𝒍𝒍𝒐𝒘 𝒎𝒆, 𝒕𝒐 𝒂𝒃𝒔𝒐𝒓𝒃 𝒎𝒆, 𝒕𝒐 𝒃𝒆𝒄𝒐𝒎𝒆 𝒐𝒏𝒆 𝒃𝒐𝒅𝒚, 𝒔𝒉𝒆 𝒔𝒖𝒄𝒄𝒆𝒆𝒅𝒆𝒅.”


In 1963 Sylvia Plath took her own life in her London flat. Her death was the culmination of a brief, brilliant life lived in the shadow of clinical depression—a condition exacerbated by her tempestuous relationship with mercurial poet Ted Hughes. The ensuing years saw Plath rise to martyr status while Hughes was cast as the cause of her suicide, his infidelity at the heart of her demise.

For decades, Hughes never bore witness to the truth of their marriage—one buried beneath a mudslide of apocryphal stories, gossip, sensationalism, and myth. Until now.

In this mesmerizing fictional work, Connie Palmen tells his side of the story, previously untold, delivered in Ted Hughes’s own uncompromising voice. A brutal and lyrical confessional, Your Story, My Story paints an indelible picture of their seven-year relationship—the soaring highs and profound lows of star-crossed soul mates bedeviled by their personal demons. It will forever change the way we think about these two literary icons.

Your Story, My Story by Connie Palman is originally published by Amazon crossing, and to order your copy buy here.


Connie Palmen (Aldegonda Petronella Huberta Maria Palmen) is a Dutch author. She was born on November 25, 1955, in Sint Odiliënberg. Palmen debuted with the novel De Wetten (1990), published in the USA as The Laws (1993), translated by Richard Huijing. The Laws was shortlisted for the 1996 International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award. Her second novel was De vriendschap (1995), published in the USA as The Friendship (2000), translated by Ina Rilke. Palmen had a relationship with Ischa Meijer in the years preceding his death in 1995. From 1999 on she lived with D66 politician Hans van Mierlo, and the couple married on 11 November 2009 until his death on 11 March 2010.

This post is sponsored by Westland Publishers. All the views are personal.
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