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  Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden

Review by: Leslie C.
Other, Grade 10

As Memoirs of a Geisha takes place during the 20th century, it reveals the mystery of a great type of art in Japan – the practice of geishas. It is not uncommon that young girls, especially from poor families, are forced to perform in this kind of art. While some enter with great hope for luxury and fame, some do not have a clue. Although it may seem like an easy and reliable occupation, a geisha’s life is usually extremely bumpy and short. It is an entire different world where appearances are paramount; where a girl’s virginity is auctioned to the highest bidder; where women are trained to beguile the most powerful men; and where love is scorned as illusion. In this world, something that one has and something that one wants are completely different. Sayuri, who has been thought to be someone that has not have a bright future, has been picked out by Mameha, one of the most famous and powerful geishas at that time. It is not Sayuri’s intention to become a geisha, but she is determined, to leave a legacy. She soon comes to realize that “it’s all about the last survivor. Nobody cares how you reached to the top; they are shallow people.” Jealously, love, and hatred, Sayuri’s life is full of unexpectedness – she struggles, along with all the other geishas for one common goal.

I enjoyed reading this book because it introudced me to the practice of Geisha in Japan, which I was never familiar with before. Moreover, everytime I read sections of this books, it left me wondering what was going to happen next and sometimes the result was very different from what I thought it would be. It also taught me the cruelty of life - how human have to struggle to survive among love, hatred, and jealousy. In the end, only the best and the strongest will have the power and will be remembered.

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