Random Thoughts

Book Review | Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden

Pages: 434 {Paperback}book-review

Published: September 1997

Rating: 9 out of 10


I wanted to give this book a 10 because I loved it so much. But I was gravely disappointed when I reached the end and read that everything was fictional. Everything except the culture and lifestyle of geisha.

I guess the word NOVEL on the front of the book should have already told me everything but I was so immersed in the book, I never noticed it.

I’m sure almost everyone has seen the movie. It was amazing! Brilliant! So when I was walking around a little charity store close to where I stay and saw the title, I had to have it. I had to read it!

It took me two months to finish it (I blame this on life and responsibilities). I even had to watch the movie halfway through the book because there were parts in the book that I couldn’t remember seeing in the movie. Of course, no movie could ever be exact to the book (except when I said so about this book – The Fault in Our Stars). I was just surprised to see how much important detail was left from of the book.

For instance, the ending of the movie made us believe that Sayuri and the Chairman were officially together and their love for each other would finally bloom.
Wrong, the book explained it in a different way: the Chairman became her danna (she became his mistress) as he already had a wife. Also Sayuri eventually moved to New York with their illegitimate son. Where eventually the Chairman died and they were never really truly together. I think this was quite an important part as we were left to believe a completely different ending, a happy one. Even though in the book, she said she was finally happy with him, being his mistress – that isn’t the message the movie gave.

We can’t always have everything at it’s best. So I’ll have to settle for what it was.

I’m very happy to say that the author was very precise with his details about how geisha’s lived and behaved. I found it very interesting learning about such a rich forgotten culture, and also picking up on some Japanese (although most of it is about clothing and fish).

Despite the disappointment I suffered through about it being fictional, it definitely make the top 10 list of my all-time favorite books!



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