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Memoirs of a Geisha: Review

Synopsis: On Goodreads (where I normally get my synopses), the summary is pretty bad. There's a long plot summary on Wikipedia if you want to read that - I didn't feel like posting such a long thing on this review!

Details: Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden, 434 pages, 3.93 stars on Goodreads

My Thoughts: This is adult fiction although I normally read and review young adult fiction. I saw the movie a few months ago, and while I really enjoyed it, the book was much better! Memoirs of a Geisha was a beautiful story, written wonderfully, and it's easy to get lost in the story. While I wouldn't call this something that has you tearing through the pages, there were many parts where I was reluctant to put it down and eager to get back to it.

The narrator, Chiyo, was very easy to relate to. When something bad happened to her, I felt it in my gut, and even though a geisha is basically a prostitute, no matter how you look at it, I was still pleased for her when she became successful. She had an entertaining way of narrating, where in places it was like she was speaking to you.

One thing I truly loved about this book was how realistic it was. The things I'm about to say are mildly spoiler-ish - nothing you can't figure out before it happens while reading, but if you wish to skip this paragraph, go ahead. *spoilers start now* While I was sad that Chiyo and her sister were never reunited after that one night, it would have been highly unlikely for something like that to happen. It was just another sad aspect of Chiyo's life. Another thing that saddened me but was also realistic was how Pumpkin reacted to so many years of betrayal and abuse. In the beginning, she was such a sweet, gentle girl, but by the end, she was bitter and vengeful, almost like Hatsumomo. *spoilers end now*

There were some things I disliked about Memoirs of a Geisha. I feel like the book didn't go as in depth to what was happening around Chiyo, with Japan's decline and everything. While, of course, the book was primarily about Chiyo's life as a geisha, I think the failing economy, the war, etc. would have all added another layer to the story and made it more interesting. The other thing that bothered me was her obsession with the Chairman. I understand that he may have meant a lot to her, that one time when he comforted her as a child, but I don't see why she fell in love with him and chased after him for twenty years. What bothered me even more was how he happened to be in love with her as well. I was hoping that she would realize how kind Nobu was and how much he really cared about her, but instead, the author opted for the fairy tale ending.

Overall, this was an excellent book and I definitely recommend it. The ending wasn't the greatest, but this is such an intriguing look into the life of someone people usually look on with revulsion.

Plot - 4/5
Writing - 5/5
Characters - 5/5
Impact - 2.5/5
Inability to put it down - 2.5/5

Overall - 76% = B+

6 comments:

Kathy Martin said...

Interesting review. I haven't seen the movie of the book. It sounds like I would like to read them and see them to compare.

Mrs. DeRaps said...

I, too, thought that the book was better than the movie. I also thought that something was missing--a motivation for the main character to chase the Chairman for so long. Maybe it's a cultural thing, but I kinda wanted her to be a strong woman. Surely there are examples of strong women who happened to be geishas!

Here from the CEP.

Lea (YA Book Queen) said...

This sounds so intriguing...I'll have to read the book and then watch the movie! Nice review :)

Eleni @ La Femme Readers said...

I liked the movie and haven't read the book. So, I'm glad to hear the book is amazing. Maybe I'll read it one day! :)

I'm commenting from the Comment Exchange Program. :)

Kelli (I'd So Rather Be Reading) said...

Very nice review. I really liked this movie so I'm glad to hear the book surpassed it.

Jessi E. said...

I loved this book so much. It was just beautiful throughout - I could picture the grace and beauty of everything that happened. I watched part of the movie but then stopped because I didn't want it to ruin the gorgeousness of the book.

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