Memoirs of a Geisha sends you back in time to early twentieth century Japan, where Chiyo, our main character, and her sister have just been taken from their home, their father, and their very sick mother. Chiyo is sent to an okiya, a lodging house for young girls as they prepare for their future career as geishas. There she meets Pumpkin, Mother, Auntie, Granny, and the not-so-very lovable Hatsumomo.
Studies and history have given us a very small sneak peek at what exactly lies in store for the life of a geisha, but I promise you, after you read this novel, you will come out of it knowing more about the life of a geisha than you'd ever imagine. In fact, you may come out of this reading experience knowing more than you'd like to know. Not only does this book teach you the beauty about Japanese life inside of a geisha's mind, but it shows you the painful truths of it as well.
Believe me, there were parts of this book that made me cringe! This is not a fault of the author's, whatsoever, nor is it any reflection on the book itself. But some of the "blemishes" on the face of the geisha world made me shiver (and not in a good way). Although, I think that that was part of Arthur Golden's point. He wanted to show his readers the good and bad side of Chiyo/Sayuri's (whose name changed once she became a geisha in training) world, and he did a pretty dang good job of it.
I loved this book. It left such of a huge impression on me, I couldn't stop thinking about it days after I had finished it. (I'll just skip over the fact that a certain favorite character of mine had a less-than-happy happily ever after...)
Arthur Golden's writing was so magnificent, I felt myself being transported back in time to Japan each and every time I picked up my copy of the book. Memoirs of a Geisha is truly a treasure to behold (and I recommend it to every literary lover out there). I can't imagine anyone going through their book-loving life without reading this book.
Even if you read Memoirs of a Geisha and dislike it, I guarantee that you will walk away from your reading experience with more knowledge of life than before. I truly believe that this is the kind of book that will help mold who you become as a person.
It's just that good.