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Monday, May 3, 2010

"Memoirs of a Geisha"

by Arthur Golden, 1997, 428p, rating=3.5

What a slow and looong read! But so worth it. I was entranced with Sayuri's life story. It makes me wonder if reading a REAL autobiography is like this. I suppose it would depend on who it is and whether I could relate to the person. In this case, maybe I found this story interesting because I knew zip about geisha and this book had an engrossing way of giving you a glimpse of what it may be like.

Told in a first person from a now old woman in her 70s being interviewed by a New York professor who is the narrator/translator. Here Sayuri accounts her life from a child of nine year old being sold and sent to a brothel to the current old age of a retired geisha. Major events set in Japan around the time of the Depression. Here we are transported to Sayuri's hardship, learning's, and endurance. We discover insights of geisha life through her experiences. We read about pain, jealousy, cruelty, innocence, kindness, secrets, chivalry, romance, tradition, heartache, ecstasy, etc. Truly a spectrum of human conditions and emotions. The main and supporting characters were amazing in developing Sayuri's disposition. Moreover, the exhausting read was perhaps purposeful to get the reader to feel of Sayuri's exhausting life. The ending was incredible!

My take out ... a simple act of kindness may bring a motivating hope for the receiver to change his destiny or better yet, having hope is what makes one move forward whether or not the desired outcome would unfold in the end.

**My quotables:
"Couldn't the wrong sort of living turn anyone mean?" pg 94
"Hopes are like hair ornaments. Girls want to wear too many of them. When they become old women they look silly wearing even one." pg 295 (I personally don't agree with this statement!)
"I don't think any of us can speak frankly about pain until we are no longer enduring it." pg 419

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