... [a] thoroughly engrossing examination of these two disparate, talented and troubled poetic geniuses ... Crowther synthesizes Plath’s and Sexton’s individual stories into a seamless narrative. Many details will be familiar to die-hard acolytes of either or both poets, but Crowther’s clever integration of these two lives reveals the strong connections between them in new and surprising ways ... with little evidence to draw on beyond a few passing comments in diaries and letters, and one poem Sexton wrote after Plath’s death, Crowther perhaps speculates a bit too much about what each of these women may or may not have thought of the other. Despite this leap, she makes a convincing case that the ripple effects of Plath’s and Sexton’s not-so-quiet rebellions are still being felt.
... compelling and extremely informative ... The focus is less on literary analysis than psychological and societal influences. Nevertheless, it is a thrilling read. Crowther skillfully walks readers through those inebriating early years when Plath and Sexton met as nervous young poets through their blossoming into major literary figures and into the darkness of their struggles with difficult marriages and depression. Offering a powerful and disturbing look into the forces that drive us to creativity and to our own destruction, with all its details of infidelities and hardships, cigarettes, and sorrows, this book leaves readers hungering for more of what these two literary comets burned with: the power of a little poetry ... Deliriously fast-paced and erudite, this is highly recommended for all literature, poetry, and women’s studies collections.
... solid ... Despite her excellent research, Crowther’s style is sometimes distracting ... Nevertheless, this insightful account is a slick addition to the body of work on these two influential poets.