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Memoirs of a Geisha
by Arthur Golden
I know this book wasn’t on my reading list for this year, but some of the books I’ve been wanting to read aren’t at the library and I just don’t want to purchase a book that I’m not sure I’m even going to like. I’m going to wait it out a bit and see if they actually show up eventually at the library or if maybe I can find some of them for cheap at a used book store.
This particular book I’ve seen from time to time and I’ve been interested in it, but it just hadn’t been super high on my priority list to read. My sister just finished it and said it was really good and wanted to know if I wanted her copy…. I was in between books so I took it!
It’s actually pretty good!
A couple of times I had to read and re-read the intro and the cover to figure out if it really was a memoir or fiction… it’s fiction. It is written so much like a memoir that often times I find myself questioning that it’s fiction! The author does a great job writing as if it were all true and as if this was the actual life of a girl in Japan!
The book takes place in the early 1900s in Kyoto Japan. As a young girl Chiyo is orphaned and she and her sister are sold. Chiyo is young and beautiful and is sold to be a Geisha (similar to an elite escort) and her sister who is simple and not as beautiful as a prostitute.
I don’t want to give away too much of the story… The poor girl is so confused. She thought she was going to be adopted into a well to do family and is so disheartened and angry she she realizes she is to be living the life of a servant. Her best hope in life is to be a good servant and hope her owners will invest in her the training needed to become a geisha.
Obviously, as the title suggests, she does become a geisha and becomes one of the most popular in Gion at the time. She is in the presence of wealthy business owners, military and royalty. She masters her trade, but that doesn’t bring her happiness. She often thinks of her family, her sister and what could have been.
As her life starts to wander in a direction that she dreads she decides to take drastic measures to try and stop the inevitable. Does it work? Is she successful? Does she ever receive any happiness in life?
I will leave that up to you to find out! I don’t want to give it away! And as I’ve stated in the past, I LOVE historical fiction, and this is just that. I also enjoy books during WWII. Although this books doesn’t talk much about the war it does outline how difficult life was for the Japanese families during the war, how food was scarce and then the occupation of “white people” after the war was over.
I just enjoyed learning more about Japanese culture, tea ceremonies, dress, and so much more! I wouldn’t say this is a MUST read or that it is one of my new favorite books, but it was enjoyable and a quick and easy read! If you wanna read it, let me know! I have a copy of the book to give away!
Oh! And there is a movie as well, which I’m now interested in seeing!