Customer Reviews for

The Buddha in the Attic

Average Rating 3.5
( 164 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(45)

4 Star

(41)

3 Star

(34)

2 Star

(25)

1 Star

(19)

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

11 out of 13 people found this review helpful.

There Are Stories We Tell Ourselves and Then There is the Truth

When I think of my Italian grandmother immigrating to the U.S. in 1916, I'd be fooling myself to imagine a cheerful scenario of twinkling red and green lights and steaming trays of homemade lasagna served on a white lace tablecloth. The truth, with its elements of hunge...
When I think of my Italian grandmother immigrating to the U.S. in 1916, I'd be fooling myself to imagine a cheerful scenario of twinkling red and green lights and steaming trays of homemade lasagna served on a white lace tablecloth. The truth, with its elements of hunger, poverty and alleged domestic abuse, is a much darker story. And yet she immigrated hoping for a better life than the one she was leaving behind.

The mail-order brides in Julie Otsuka's Buddha in the Attic cross the ocean hoping for a better fate than the "farm wife" lives they are destined to lead in Japan. Their dreams of handsome husbands and affluent lives dissolve the moment they set foot in America.

In the collective voice of a generation, Otsuka tells of the the disappointment, despair and brutality that awaits so many of these women. Those who are defiant and determined often end up victimized in other ways. Many grit their teeth and soldier on to bring forth children whose "Americanization" is heartbreakingly depicted.

This small book isn't emotionally easy, but thanks to Otsuka's blistering, unsentimental prose, it's compulsively readable. Much of it is sad and shocking. But it will make you grateful for those who came before and had the courage to live their lives allowing us opportunities and an existence they could only dream of.

posted by LettoreBella on December 14, 2011

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Most Helpful Critical Review

5 out of 12 people found this review helpful.

No real characters in this book!

If you like to read books that don't develop any real characters and distorts history this is the book for you. I wanted to like this book, but I couldn't connect with any of the non-existing characters. I gave it one star because I have read books that are worse. Th...
If you like to read books that don't develop any real characters and distorts history this is the book for you. I wanted to like this book, but I couldn't connect with any of the non-existing characters. I gave it one star because I have read books that are worse. This was a terrible short read. There was no centralized theme, or overall plot. The men in the story were made out to be villains. I kept waiting for this story to begin, it was depressing and negative in my opinion. I want the hours of my life back that I wasted on this.

posted by ZeeLeeDeeGee on October 17, 2011

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 28, 2011

    Historical Fiction

    Informative...mail order brides from Japan end up living like slaves. Very tedious reading. Couldn't wait to get it over with. Accounts of many women and their lives in America before and after WWII.

    3 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 13, 2011

    would not recommend

    The story line was a collective pool of story's all put together. There were no main characters. I didn't feel the era come through the writing and I was disappointed with the abrupt end. With that said, I did found it interesting but would not recommend it.

    3 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 13, 2011

    I hate to say I was disappointed

    I had high hopes for this book, but the gimmicky writing wore on me. By the time I got to the end, I was glad it was over. It had glimpses of brilliance, but the lack of continuity killed it.

    3 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 12, 2011

    Not so good

    I did not like this book. It is too repetitive and the writing style gets monotonous after a few pages so my mind would drift elsewhere. I stopped reading halfway through. I enjoyed the author's prior book but not this one.

    3 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 26, 2011

    Not what i expected

    I had high hopes for this story from the beginning. I was intrigued by the Japenese women's journey to America by boat and what it was like to meet the husbands they traveled all that way for for the first time. From there, it was all downhill. There are no characters or plot. The writing style was one long run-on sentence. There was not even a conclusion. The book just abruptly ends. There were some interesting moments, but overall I would not recommend it.

    2 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 17, 2012

    Quite boring

    The author chose to tell the story of Japanese immigrants to the USA in a style that is so impersonal. There is no one main story or character and as a result the style is very repetitive and tiresome. I loved her first book "The Emperor Was Divine" and was very disappointed from this one.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 23, 2011

    Okay but not great

    Good easy read but already forgot the plot

    1 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 10, 2011

    I didnt get it

    I have not read When the Emperor Was Divine, but it seems to me that this woman made it big and famous with her amazing first book, and now she is just riding out that wave because this book didn't have a lot of substance to it, and jist doesn't seem to stand on its own.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 27, 2013

    Quick Read

    You will enjoy reading this if you enjoy reading historical stories of women.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 12, 2012

    A narrative list of hardships.

    At first an interesting way to follow the Japanese brides' expectations and initial meetings with their husbands. The list of hardships became more discouraging to read chapter after chapter.
    I am on the East Coast & wonder where all the ancestors of these women settled.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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    Posted June 13, 2012

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    Posted September 5, 2011

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    Posted September 27, 2011

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    Posted November 3, 2011

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    Posted October 24, 2011

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