>Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden
“A woman living in a grand house may pride herself on all her lovely things; but the moment she hears the crackle of fire she decides very quickly which are the few she values most. In the days after Mameha and I had spoken, I certainly came to feel that my life was burning down around me;…”
-Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden (p. 296)
Story: Little Chiyo lives with her family in a small fishing village, Yoroido. Her life is peaceful, until her mother becomes very ill. Despite trying and hoping to help her, Chiyo’s father sells Chiyo and her sister, Satsu, are sold to a man named Mr. Tanaka who takes them to Kyoto.
Once there, Mr. Tanaka separates the sisters. Chiyo is sent to an okiya, a place where geisha live. Two women, Mother and Granny, run the okiya. They tell her she must be a geisha and work hard to repay her debt. Chiyo meets Hatsumomo, a renowned geisha, and another girl her age, Pumpkin who is also aiming to be a geisha.
My opinion: Three and a half stars. Memoirs is a great narrative novel. It transitions from events clearly. People who enjoy narratives, such as The House of the Scorpion by Nancy Farmer, The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros, and The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian will also love this book. In my opinion though, I think everyone should read Memoirs.
One of the great things in this novel is that Sayuri explains and describes her environment. This is very helpful and great because it teaches people about the culture of Japan. Also, the descriptions blend in well with the story.
However, like Great Expectations by Charles Dickens, there is a lot of describing. Memoirs does have events, but mostly Sayuri describes her setting and the people she meets. If you want a book that has lots of movement from event to event, Memoirs may not be for you. I wasn’t bothered by the description and I even found to enjoy it. I think many readers would be confused and bored if there was too little description.