Customer Reviews for

Memoirs of a Geisha

Average Rating 4.5
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Most Helpful Favorable Review

16 out of 16 people found this review helpful.

Beautifully written....a must read.

This book was amazing and a beautiful read. It felt like Chiyo and Sayuri were right next to me telling the story of their lives. Beautifullly witten. This book engulfs the reader in its own world and even the most relunctant readers will find that they can't put this b...
This book was amazing and a beautiful read. It felt like Chiyo and Sayuri were right next to me telling the story of their lives. Beautifullly witten. This book engulfs the reader in its own world and even the most relunctant readers will find that they can't put this book down. I told my friend who only read a book once in a while and she finished the book in about 4 days. The story pulls your heart strings and you will hold your breath to find out what happens next. It is one of those books that when you hear its name again you immediately smile and say what a good book it was. You'll find yourself reccommending it to all your friends and family.

posted by 444716 on November 25, 2008

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Most Helpful Critical Review

2 out of 22 people found this review helpful.

Very Disappointing

The author is a fantastic writer. He has the ability to transport you into a different era and place. I feel like I have strolled the streets of Gion and visited the tea houses of Kyoto. However, the story was much longer then it needed to be and it lacked something I c...
The author is a fantastic writer. He has the ability to transport you into a different era and place. I feel like I have strolled the streets of Gion and visited the tea houses of Kyoto. However, the story was much longer then it needed to be and it lacked something I can put my finger on. The ending a unsatisfactory. Sayuri the most selfish person you'll ever meet, after all Nobu has done for her.

posted by Magdalena25 on January 13, 2010

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 25, 2008

    Beautifully written....a must read.

    This book was amazing and a beautiful read. It felt like Chiyo and Sayuri were right next to me telling the story of their lives. Beautifullly witten. This book engulfs the reader in its own world and even the most relunctant readers will find that they can't put this book down. I told my friend who only read a book once in a while and she finished the book in about 4 days. The story pulls your heart strings and you will hold your breath to find out what happens next. It is one of those books that when you hear its name again you immediately smile and say what a good book it was. You'll find yourself reccommending it to all your friends and family.

    16 out of 16 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted December 8, 2008

    Memoirs of a Geisha Review

    This book is written around the World War II era of Japan. Its written in fairly complex literature, with full English and Japanese names and locations. Its historacle fiction, whereas the events in the story took place but the people are for the most part fictional.<BR/><BR/>This story is about a young girl living in the country of Japan. She is taken away with her sister to be sold off to the Geisha market, where they will spend years learning how to entertain men for gifts and money. For the longest time she was thought to be a troublemaker and never to be a Geisha, but none could reject the fact that she was unique from everyone else in Japan, she had "mizu" or blue colored eyes.<BR/><BR/>After several years of being beaten by those that ran her Geisha house, of causing reckless mistakes, and of being plotted against on a regular basis by the most respectable Geisha in all of Japan, she became one of the most desired women in Japan.<BR/><BR/>She soon fell in love with a chairman, so she planned out how she could get to him. However, war broke out between Japan and the United States...

    10 out of 17 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 23, 2009

    Book Review on "Memoirs of a Geisha"

    Memoirs of a Geisha, by Arthur Golden does a wonderful job on talking an interview of a women and telling her story as a geisha.

    Nitta Sayuri tells her life on what it was like to be a geisha. Sayuri's story begins in a poor fishing village in 1929, as a nine year-old with the most unusable blue-gray eyes. She was taking away from her home and sold into slavery to a renowned geisha house. Where women witness the transformation of a geisha and the arts of dance and music.

    Memoirs of a Geisha is a book with a lot of vivid metaphors, nature imagery, and other imagery and describe the feeling of the characters in the book. The memorable characters and what they face. What it is was like to be a geisha through Natti Sayuri eyes.

    This descriptive book has you wanting to read until you can't stop till the end. You will see differently about the Japanese culture and their history. Once you start to read you could hardly put the book down or even if you want to take a break because it's telling you about a person life. Read "Memoirs of a Geisha" and read the suspenseful, romantic, erotic and is completely unforgettable.

    5 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 26, 2011

    Lovely, bittersweet

    I adore the film adaptation but it's like looking at the reflection of a flower compared to the tragic loveliness the novel portrays. While there are some cultural innacuracies that a concientious reader would do well to research (the very misunderstood mizuage ceremony specifically) it tells a simple and sad but ultimately peaceful story. If you liked the film you will love this even more!

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 30, 2012

    I enjoyed Memoirs of a Geisha. It was an enjoyable read and the

    I enjoyed Memoirs of a Geisha. It was an enjoyable read and the plot really intrigued the reader. The topic was interesting as well, because I am not knowledgeable in Japanese history or geisha.
    Though this was a fictional novel, it still gave me the idea of what it would have been like to have been a Japanese geisha. Golden did a spectacular job of telling the story. His use of language and the voice he gave to his characters made you believe that Sayuri and her friends were all real people. As you kept reading, you became attached to her silliness and watched her mature into a funny, beloved geisha.
    One of the things I loved about this story was Sayuri’s personality. Her foolishness got her into massive amounts of trouble. At one point in the story, all seemed lost. You got the feeling that Sayuri would never make it out, but she came back, stronger than ever. I love how in that moment, Golden gave you goose bumps, and made you feel as if you might lose Sayuri. Then, he gave us that moment of relief when all became well for her. He also snuck in a little lesson for Sayuri; she learned the importance of hard work and the satisfaction of earning something yourself. The story definitely showed the hard work done by her in order to become a geisha.
    One thing I did not like about Memoirs of a Geisha was some of the subject matter. Sex was a very prominent topic in the book; it was a common thing for a geisha to take part in. I feel that Golden’s elaborate descriptions made the reader uncomfortable. I just thought that Golden was a little too detailed.
    Overall, the account of Sayuri’s life was phenomenal. I believe that anybody can read this book, even if you know nothing about Japan. I think that once the book is opened, it will not be closed until your eye scans the very last word. From the moment you pick Memoirs of a Geisha up, you will be almost disappointed to know that Sayuri Nitta is only fiction.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 27, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    I first want to address a couple reviews I read before I purchas

    I first want to address a couple reviews I read before I purchased Memoirs of a Geisha, because I very nearly skipped this novel due to the content of these reviews. People were offended by the sexual content in this novel, and some even said that the author gave the impression that Geisha were more sexual than they really are.

    I disagree. Yes, there is a bit of sexual content, but it is in no way overwhelming, nor does it mislead readers to believe that Geisha are the same as prostitutes. If anything, the author of this book does a fantastic job of describing the art of the Geisha. I learned quite a bit about Geisha, and what they really do. I've always heard some people insist that a Geisha's job had nothing to do with sex, while others say that Geisha were no different from prostitutes. Both are wrong, and this book does a fantastic job of clarifying that balance. On top of that, it paints a wonderful picture of both the darker and brighter sides of a Geisha's life. It's not pure oppression, while at the same time it's not all rainbows and butterflies. I love that the author was honest in this portrayal, and kept his writing very respectful and open about a Geisha's life style.

    And finally, it was simply an interesting story. The characters were well developed and interesting to follow, and I found myself deeply connected to their experiences. It's a wonderful novel I highly recommend.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 4, 2013

    Wonderful

    The book was better than the movie and the movie was exceptional.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 13, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Very Disappointing

    The author is a fantastic writer. He has the ability to transport you into a different era and place. I feel like I have strolled the streets of Gion and visited the tea houses of Kyoto. However, the story was much longer then it needed to be and it lacked something I can put my finger on. The ending a unsatisfactory. Sayuri the most selfish person you'll ever meet, after all Nobu has done for her.

    2 out of 22 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 12, 2014

    Speechless

    I read this in paperback and fell in love with Sayuri and her vision of Gion. The narrative feels startlingly real, to the exent of my being surprised that Sayuri never truly existed. The language and word choice employed by Golden is so lucid and seductive that the book is near impossible to close once opened. While certainly racy at times, the book avoids straying into overly lurid territory, achieving a breathtakingly beautiful balance between sensuality and hardship. The absolutely hypnotic descriptions of kimonos, ceremonies, Gion, etcetera are amongst the most well-written and gaspingly lovely passages I have ever read. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone looking for elements of a historic documentary, a love story, and a search for identity.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 29, 2012

    Hard to put down if you have an interest in Japanese history and culture

    Golden does a wonderful job of blending the history of Japan from the 20's through the 50's through the eyes of one Geisha it is hard not to imagine him sitting in a teahouse in New York with a tape recorder and notepad at the feet of an aging Sayuri. Part history of Kyoto and all about the life and culture of the Geisha of Gion, it is a tale that draws you in from the first pages to its somewhat predictable conclusion. Being a realist I imagined the worse scenario befalling the heroine and in this tale it usually did, but for me the ending was not full of the terrible grief and loss that I had come to expect. A truly moving tale with memorable characters and imagery that will endure in my mind for years to come. Thanks for a great read, one of those rare books I couldn't put down and that leaves me a bit sad to return to the shelf.

    I started this journey on a rainy November afternoon in a small hotel room in Kyoto just across the river from Gion and steps from Pontocho. I finished it back home in Los Angeles, and as I read it here I found myself back in Japan side by side with Sayuri as she walked the streets I had so recently left behind. Thank you for taking me back to Kyoto so vividly and for giving me an even greater desire to return.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 30, 2012

    I liked the book Memoirs of a Geisha in some parts; but

    I liked the book Memoirs of a Geisha in some parts; but I also disliked it at other parts. I
    liked the fact that the author was very descriptive of colors and really described the scenery.
    Especially when he would write about the kimonos, he would describe it so that I felt that I had
    actually just seen the beautiful kimono with my own eyes.
    I did not like the fact that at some points in the book it would be very interesting and a lot
    would be going on but in a lot of other parts nothing seemed to be happening. There was a lot of
    detail about the daily life of Sayuri for a while which didn’t seem to be relevant to the story. One
    example was when Sayuri was a maid, there would be extensive detail about was her chores and
    how she was jealous of Pumpkin because she was in training to become a Geisha.
    I think that if I was not reading this for a school project I would of liked it even more. I tend
    to not like books as much when I’m reading it for an assignment as much as I would have if I
    was reading it on my own. If it wasn’t the book that I picked for my assignment then I probably
    would have picked it up anyway later on because the story sounds and is indeed a very
    interesting one. Before I read this book I knew nothing of Geisha, but now I know exactly what
    they are and what they do.
    I think that the audience that would most like this book would be patient people that can
    stand to read a lot of detail. Also people that like to learn about being a geisha back during World
    War Two. I would recommend this book and will most likely be reading it again sometime in the
    near future.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 18, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Memoirs of a Geisha By Arthur Golden In 1929 Sayuri┬┐s mother ha

    Memoirs of a Geisha
    By Arthur Golden

    In 1929 Sayuri’s mother has fallen ill and her father is no longer able to care for her and her older sister, she is soon sold to a representative of a geisha house in the Kyoto district. The she works as a maid and is trained in music and dance with hopes of becoming a geisha one day. But when she is caught trying to run away she is deemed too much of a risk to continue her training, until an accomplished Geisha decides to take her under her wing and teach her everything she knows to introduce her into the society. As she is an apprentice she comes across a man, the only man that had shown her kindness when she was a child, increasing her determination to become a Geisha and gain his approval.

    This is not only the story of a Geisha it is the story of Japan during the great depression and during world war two, beautifully written around the struggles of a woman who must work as hard as she can to support herself. The romance is flawless and the drama is poignant and breathtaking this was an amazing read. The movie that followed this book is one of my favorites, though the movie could not come close to the beauty within this novel.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 3, 2012

    Great book

    I read this book years ago. Ive never seen the movie but the book is sooooooo good!! A great buy believe me! Definately worth the money!!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 5, 2012

    Awesome

    I love this book! Looking for a good read that might make you cry, smile, then cry again? Get this!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 5, 2012

    One of my favorites

    This was a wonderful easy read. I learned so much about the Japanese and geisha culture through this journey with Sayuri. I loved all the poetic metaphors told throughout the story as well. If you are looking for a light enjoyable read with love, struggles, triumphs, and all the emotions in between this book will not disappoint.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 28, 2012

    Wonderful

    wonderful book, so much better than the movie.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 1, 2011

    VERY GOOD!

    I¿ve always wanted to go to Japan someday; writer Arthur Golden of Memoirs of a Geisha made me feel like I had been there in the beautiful city of Kyoto, when an innocent little girl named Chiyo gets sold off into the geisha world and has the opportunity to become Kyoto¿s most elite woman. The story of her journey and her coming of age is told by Chiyo herself, who tells us the story in her very own eyes. The love story behind this book is the reason why I loved it so much. A man called Chairman had noticed Chiyo when she still lived in her ¿tipsy¿ house in the fishing village of Yoroido, Japan when she was only eight. They again found each other years later when Chiyo, now renamed Sayuri, had already become a geisha. There¿s a lot more to it than just a little girl surviving in a world she doesn¿t know, but more of patience and realization. Memoirs of a Geisha is filled with a lot of interesting characters like Hatsumomo, Chiyo describes her like the wicked witch of the west. She¿s the typical mean step sister in this Cinderella-like story where as Chiyo is Cinderella who started with nothing, but ended up everything. She not only gains love and adoration from everyone, but she gains the lessons she has learned from going through this journey and we get to see it all. The larger theme of this book is that life, although already planned out by destiny, may yet be changed by self-determination, anyone, or anything. Chiyo begins her story by saying that she ¿wasn¿t born and raised to be a Kyoto geisha.¿ Her journey to becoming a geisha is compared to ¿brewing tea in a bucket,¿ as she said herself. At first it seems impossible, but there are possibilities and you just have to perseverant. Even though this story took place years ago during the great depression, you can get the idea that parts of it can happen today or in your lifetime, for example JK Rowling was dirt poor before she wrote the Harry Potter series now she¿s known for writing one of the best selling books of all time. Again, you just have to perseverant and patient. I really recommended this book to younger readers who haven¿t really ¿found themselves¿ in life yet, this book teaches them to never give up and overcome your obstacles. If you want to know in the end what happens to Hatsumomo and Sayuri (Chiyo), you¿ll have to read the book!

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2008

    Fabulous Book!!!!

    I loved this book so much in just the first chapter I was captivated.I saw the movie and it made me want to read the book and I'm so glad I did.It was very well written.One of my favorite books I highly recommend this book.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 17, 2007

    Misleading Memoir

    Memoirs of a Geisha is a novel, that many people make out to be truth. Arthur Golden wrote a piece of fiction, and nearly everything in his book is inaccurate. I'm not saying he's stupid, I'm saying he's dishonest. Mizuage was never a sexual thing for real geisha selling virginity did not happen. Now because of Memoirs of a Geisha, everyone thinks geisha are sexual. I really wish people would wake up.

    1 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 25, 2000

    A roller coaster of human triumph and pathos-The Memoirs of a Geisha!

    'Memoirs of a Geisha' brings the cult of geisha to a vivid expose and new understanding of the geisha regimen and place in history. 'Memoirs of a Geisha' does all of this in a tender, gripping and enlightening manner for those of us in the unknowing of this aspect of Eastern culture. All the elements of human emotion come to the fore, leaving the reader with the paradox of sadness and joy, pleasure with pain, the rescue of an unknown person to the pinnacle of fame, at a high price. This heart rendering story is hauntingly beautiful. One cannot forget easily the geishas of history whose lives of servitude, regimen, and harsh discipline hinged on the whims of fancy and fortune in the power of men of varying degrees of stature. This is a 'must read' for those who, like myself, had misconceived knowledge of the underpinnings and the life of a geisha.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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