Customer Reviews for

The Buddha in the Attic

Average Rating 3.5
( 166 )
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Most Helpful Favorable Review

14 out of 16 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

6 out of 13 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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