Memoirs of a Geisha

By Arthur Golden

 

It took me a while to get through this book because of the very detailed writing technique that the author uses (to say the least).  However, if you can stick it out, this is an excellent book.   It’s fiction although the author based it on the life of a real geisha.   This geisha, who recently retired, was interviewed a couple of weeks ago and criticized the book for depicting the life of a geisha as one of prostitution.  However, I did not come away with that opinion.  I saw it as the story of a poor and destitute girl who is sold by her father into the life a geisha and how hard it was for her to “make it”.  She didn’t have much of a choice once her fate was sealed.  She had to struggle to become very successful; otherwise she would have ended up as a prostitute.  There’s also a love story threaded throughout the book which is very sweet and sad.  The geisha, Mameko, has a tough time being a geisha in training and the book describes the “pecking order” and set up of a geisha house.   The love story part of the book was a surprise to me because I honestly didn’t see it coming.  If you read the book, I think you’ll know what I mean.  All in all, I enjoyed reading the book and I can honestly say that, as a woman, I’m glad to have been born in the USA.