Sunday, April 18, 2010

Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden


I read Memoirs of a Geisha when I was in High School and I loved it then as much as I do now.

It is a great book because it is set in a different country, Japan, in a total different time period. So not only do you get to learn about other cultures while reading, you get an amazing story at the same time.

Sayuri, the main character, grew up very poor and was sold at a very young age. She grows up in a geisha house while her sister is sold to a brothel and is forced to be a prostitute.

One thing you learn from this book is what being a Geisha is all about. They are not prostitutes, (weeeeelll eh they are paid to have sex but I would NOT put them on the same level as prostitutes) but more like companions that are paid to go to events and to perform dances. (Not like a stripper dance, a traditional Japanese dance.

There are a few parts of the book that really made me upset.


like how shitty Hatsumomo is to Sayuri. She is basically a selfish hating bitch and is threatened by Sayuri’s beauty and brains.

Another part that really pissed me off is how Sayuri is forced to sell her virginity and the highest bidder gets to have her. That must be so scary for her and confusing at the same time.

And that is where things start to get juicy. (no pun intended) A love triangle begins to form and Sayuri is in love with the one man she cannot have. Luckily, in the end, all turns out ok! :)


The book is actually loosely about a former Geisha, Mineko Iwasaki, and since the book has been published, she has written an autobiography called “Geisha, a Life.” Supposedly this book shows a very different picture of geishas so I plan to read it soon!

I would recommend this book to any girl in high school or older. I give it a 10/10 because it is one of my favorite books of all time. The movie is amazing as well and they do a great job keeping to the book!



This is the first time I read a book after watching the movie. The worst part is that I watched the movie a day before I started reading it too. Bad idea!

The book was awesome. I love learning about other cultures and I like that I know what a Geisha is. A Geisha is thought to be a prostitute. That is not true. A real Geisha is an artist, she is taught from a young age to dance, play instruments, sing and how to move gracefully. Although her virginity is sold, it is not her choice, not even being a Geisha is a choice. They have a danna, which is the one and only person they are allowed to sleep with. The danna helps out the okiya where the Geisha lives and might give her gifts, but I do not believe this makes her a prostitute. If you believe that, by all means, you are very entitled to your opinion. But stop being ethnocentric for a second and see that not all cultures are like yours, nor is your culture the all-righteous one.

The book had a lot more than the book. Especially the end, something happens in the story that was not even hinted in the movie. You will dislike a lot of characters and be grossed out by others. The only characters you will like are Chiyo a.k.a Sayuri and Mameha, but even she will make you mad at times.

It is a beautiful story about a girl who refused to just let destiny and culture tell her what she can and can't have. Chiyo was a fighter her whole life. She's an admirable character.

It’s by far one of my favorite movies, but I think I ruined it for myself by watching the movie first because I really wasn’t hooked on the book. Maybe I’ll read it again later after the details of both the book and the movie are fuzzy. I really wished I would have read the book earlier.

I still recommend the book to everyone. It’s really a great story.



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