Friday, April 15, 2016

Review: Memoirs of a Geisha

Title Memoirs of a Geisha
By Arthur Golden
Genre Adult Historical Fiction
Rating ⭐️⭐️

Synopsis
This fictional story follows young Chiyo as she's sold from her family home and enters the world of a Geisha.

First Sentence
Suppose that you and I were sitting in a quiet room overlooking a garden, chatting and sipping at our cups of green tea while we talked about something that happened along while ago, and I said to you, "That afternoon when I met so-and-so...was the very best afternoon of my life, and also the very worst afternoon."




This one was another book I read for book club. And let me tell you, I was completely against reading this book. I saw the movie and though I remember nothing about it I remember not liking it so reading the 500 page book really didn't appeal to me, you know?  But I sucked it up and picked up the book and as it often goes, I actually didn't mind the book. I didn't love it... I didn't even like it. I thought it was OK. But I did enjoy reading it. The writing is perfect for this type of story. It's like the fictional character is right there telling you all about their past over a cup of tea. I was quite engrossed. The story was interesting and engaging. It was fun following Chiyo as she lived her life.

I had several grievances with the book, however, and that's why it was only an "OK" read for me. I hated the way the Translators Notes at the beginning seem to trick you into thinking this is a real story. It's not. Nothing in it is real or based on real people. Yes, there were Geisha and I believe the author interviewed one for the book but the story is completely made up.

And if I'm being honest, it shows. Things just worked out a little too neatly for our MC and that always bugs me. Not to mention it makes things feel fake. I just didn't get her attraction to the Chairman. He was old and completely cold and distant with her and yet, she worshiped him. In fact, her adoration of him seemed to be the whole driving force behind her story. *shrugs* I just didn't find it satisfying.

 Should you read it?
I seem to be in the minority once again. So, sure, read it. The writing is great and the story engaging but the ending was too neat.

18 comments:

  1. I read this one years ago when all the furor over the film was happening and I remember being annoyed that it was completely fiction as well. I also remember being really creeped out by all the male characters and feeling really sorry for Michelle Yeoh's character!

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    1. Yeah. See? We're just too much alike.

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  2. I read this one a while back - 2008? 2009? I remember liking it. I don't recall feeling tricked into thinking it was a real story. I am going to consult my notes (an old blog post on a blog no longer public). I wonder, if I read the book now, would I like it? I may not as I have changed as a reader and grown personally. Kudos to you for sticking with the book.

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    1. Thanks. I'd like to think we all change as readers.

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  3. So far, it's the writing that's turning me off. I'm feeling so bored at the moment... sigh. I think my reading drive is so broken!

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    1. I enjoyed the writing. I think it's funny that I'm the one who didn't want to read this book and am going to be the only one who succeeded!

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  4. When you can't understand the female lead's attraction to her love interest, it can ruin a book that makes romance an important aspect of its story. Sounds like a man, as you describe him, shouldn't be so beloved.

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  5. I read this so long ago I hardly remember it. I am not sure if I would even bother now. It hardly stuck with me, so nothing amazing.

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    1. Yeah. I don't think it will stick with me either.

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  6. Actually, the person the story is based on is real. She sued the author because he broke her trust in revealing her story.

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    1. That's not what the author's notes said. I guess he wouldn't want us to know. Interesting.

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  7. I'd probably be more inclined to read this book if it wasn't 500 pages. Most books that long could use some serious editing. But it sounds like the writing is good, at least. I might read this book someday, but it's seriously way down on my list. :)

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    1. Yeah, no rush. It does read fast though.

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  8. This one of those books that I meant to read years ago, but never did, and now I'd probably only read it for a book club. I'm having a lot of trouble getting into the book club for my regular library- we're reading Flight Behavior by Barbara Kingsolver and I'm just not loving it.

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    1. I hate when I'm not liking a book club book. I feel obligated to finish them anyway.

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  9. It's been so long since I read this book that I can barely remember what it was about. I remember finding it interesting, but I don't know if I liked it or not ... My memory is so not what it used to be ...

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