Buddha in the Attic

Buddha in the Attic

by Julie Otsuka
3.4 166


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The Buddha in the Attic 3.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 166 reviews.
LettoreBella More than 1 year ago
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.
BabyHouseman87 More than 1 year ago
Julie Otsuka writes beautifully. While other reviewers didn't like the "we" voice she used, and thought there should have been a main character, I kind of disagree. I think using multiple perspectives was more suitable for the story because she wrote the book on behalf of an entire generation of Japanese women. This was a good, quick read filled with poetic language and stories that were both fascinating and tragic. I really enjoyed it.
thecollector0 More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed reading this book. The story was interesting, fun, and unpredictable! I highly recommend this book and this author! I cant wait to read more from her.
California-Cori More than 1 year ago
at only 101 pages it's a quick read but I loved every minute of it! I recommend this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was not only very interesting, but a history lesson...GREAT, short read!
jgJG More than 1 year ago
Thought provoking. Simple read but so interesting it was hard to put down.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is written in a third party form that seemed to distract the reader to the humanity contained in its pages. It was difficult to touch any of the characters in the book, because no relationship was invested between you and the pages. I wanted to delve into some of the characters but was not given the opportunity, albeight you would catch a glimpse of a something. I would recommend this book only on a general level and not for a read that keeps you not wanting to finish it.
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Joesmar More than 1 year ago
You will enjoy reading this if you enjoy reading historical stories of women.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Beautifully written book and gives insight into Japanese women's lives in the US before WWII and how much the war impacted the community.
Marialisabetta More than 1 year ago
I thought this book was a very powerful account of the Japanese brides who came to the US in the 1930s. The author used an unusual technique: instead of following a specific person's story, she told a group story: "we were young, excited, scared.' This enabled her to tell many stories at one time. Some people in my book club didn't like this style; they prefer to hear one person's story. I, on the other hand, thought this technique was very effective. I recommend this book.
Starry_reader More than 1 year ago
This story is based around Japanese girls who deceivingly arrived into an America that didn't welcomed them. Poverty, superstition, hopes, dreams, and lies are the background that line the story. Throughout the book, the girls become women, mothers, wives, lovers, refugees, and prisoners. They endure hardships and maintain faith and hope despite the circumstances around them that teach them otherwise. The book is compelling as it tells the collective stories of a lost generation of women, however, as compelling and heartfelt that the story is, is hard for the reader to identify with the characters. There is no protagonist, the book is written in plural in second and third person and no character stands more than other.
Two2dogs More than 1 year ago
Very good read, I would recommend it and have passed the book on to my sister who also loves to read. I'd heard some of these stories of all immigrants, just makes you so proud of these women and grateful that they had the courage to pave the way for the rest of us, thank God for all these brave and strong women.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
woutersnoirs More than 1 year ago
Told in the we plural voice, this novel is lyrical to read. The prose is what drives this book forward. It is just beautiful. 
wagnerclassiccars More than 1 year ago
I loved When the Emperor Was Divine and The Buddha in the Attic was another masterpiece of eloquence. It was so well researched I never doubted the experiences described were not felt by many of the Japanese women who naively came to America thinking they live a dream.
osaka More than 1 year ago
This was an excellent story.  Such a terrible time in U.S. history.  Hope nothing like this ever happens again to anyone. Julie Otsuka please keep writing. I've never read anything in the first person plural and I enjoyed the flow of the story. I thought it gave a good overall feeling and insight to what different people must have experienced. 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
IBEREADIN More than 1 year ago
This book was a surprise for me in many ways. Firstly, like many of my reads this year, it was not something I would have chosen for myself, however being the Book Club’s choice for June, I opted to read it and see where it took me, and I am happy to report that  I found a rare gem of a book that will be making a permanent home on my bookshelf. The writing did not follow any format that I had experienced previous to opening the cover of this book, it is told in the first person plural and does not offer the reader a main character, or a specific story to follow, and I admit a few pages in I was admittedly confused as to where this book was heading, mainly as it seemed to be lacking the main character to which I normally attach… A few pages later I began to see that the “main character” is the “we” of the book, and once adjusted to the style and layout of the story, the “we“ caught my interest and the tale of these young women from Japan began to unfold The writing is poetic (though  not poetry) in places but also very straightforward, if perhaps a bit formal, yet really leaves little to the imagination. When reading the section titled “First Night” for example,  I was struck by Otsuka’s ability to tell the “taking” of these young women by their husbands in a straightforward and very honest way, without any of the romantic fanciful words you‘d expect, but just straightforward, this is what happened, language.… "That night our new husbands took us quickly. They took us calmly. The took us gently, but firmly and without saying a word…. They took us flat on our backs on the bare floor of the Minute Motel. They took us downtown, in second rate rooms, at the Kumamoto Inn. They took us in the best hotels in San Francisco that a yellow man could set foot in at the time." And then further into the reading you find lines such as this, and you shake your head in disbelief at the innocence lost in such a few short words… "for some of us had not been told by our mothers exactly what it was that this night would entail. I was thirteen years old and had  never looked a man in the eye." The novel carries through to the Second World War, and not to give the novel away, it is at this point that the true strength of the novel and the women who grace its pages both truly shine. The author brought me to the place I always hope to be in the final pages of  any novel…wanting to know more. The courage of these young women and their efforts to survive in America, left me both interested and captivated by their story. I recommend reading The Buddha in the Attic, it shares an all to often neglected story from American history, the writing is unique and well thought out, and I hope it will leave you walking away from it as I did, with a new appreciation for the Japanese people, their culture and some of their heroines…known as the Picture Brides.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I appreciated the style with regard to multiculturalism. So frequently we are left with generalizations only with regard to cultural experiences of a particular culture. Otsuka assists is in thinking about the fact the not all members of a particular culture think or behave in exactly the same way.