Memoirs of a Geisha: Did the movie do the book justice?

Hello again!

Before I get into my review, I just have a quick update. In order to speed things along, I’ll be reading books that I’ve already seen the movie version of. This way, I can get more reviews done in less time! YAY!

That being said, I would still like any suggestions of books and movies I should review. I’ll just have to watch the movie first 🙂

Now, onto the good stuff…

Book vs. Movie

As I said in my firs post about Memoirs of a Geisha, I had already seen the movie when I decided to read the novel. I loved the movie, and I still do. It does a very good job of giving the audience a view into the mind of Chiyo (later known as Syuri) and all the complex feelings and emotions of a geisha.

Memoirs of a Geisha DVD Poster However, I was extremely pleased that the book gave even more insight into the mind of                    Chiyo/Syuri and the world of the geisha.

I really enjoyed reading about the fashion of the kimono and all of the tradition and rules that come with the life of a geisha.

As Erin Miller says in her review, the book is better than the movie (which I have found to be the case in many situations). Be that as it may, I still love the movie and would highly reccomend seeing it and reading the movie, in any order. I think anyone who enjoys learning about other cultures will really enjoy this pair.

Favorite Scene

I suppose “favorite” isn’t the best way to describe this scene but it definitely had a strong effect on me. It’s the part of the novel (and movie) where Sayuri’s virginity is auctioned off. As Mel u. says in her blog, The Reading Life, no one in this part comes out looking good.

The most disturbing part about this, to me at least, is that Sayuri is only fourteen years old when her virginity is auctioned off. I could not imagine having to go through this, especially at that young of an age.

Interesting Fact

What I found most interesting was actually in the translator’s note at the beginning of the novel. Though Memoirs of a Geisha is a fictional story, the translator’s note is told by the fictional Professor Jakob Haarhuis and makes it seem as though the story could be real. John Morley explains it more in his article Working Woman.

The translator’s note gives an account of an older Sayuri dictating her life to Haarhuis. This stood out to me because, though I knew geisha do exist in other parts of the world, I never really gave much thought to their background stories or where they end up when they become to old to work any longer.

I really like the part the author added in about Sayuri asking him to not release the story until all of the men she had mentioned had died. I thought that was a sweet touch giving another aspect of the character’s personality.

Coming Soon

These next two weeks, I will be posting about Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. Once again, feel free to comment with any questions or suggestions.

See you next time,

Jenna

Memoirs of a Geisha

Hello everyone out there in the blogosphere! This is my first ever blog post and I’m so excited!

I’m starting to read “Memoirs of a Geisha” by Arthur Golden, published in 1997 and released on screen in 2005.

Barnes & Noble gives this overview of the novel:

“In this literary tour de force, novelist Arthur Golden enters a remote and shimmeringly exotic world. For the protagonist of this peerlessly observant first novel is Sayuri, one of Japan’s most celebrated geisha, a woman who is both performer and courtesan, slave and goddess.

We follow Sayuri from her childhood in an impoverished fishing village, where in 1929, she is sold to a representative of a geisha house, who is drawn by the child’s unusual blue-grey eyes. From there she is taken to Gion, the pleasure district of Kyoto. She is nine years old. In the years that follow, as she works to pay back the price of her purchase, Sayuri will be schooled in music and dance, learn to apply the geisha’s elaborate makeup, wear elaborate kimono, and care for a coiffure so fragile that it requires a special pillow. She will also acquire a magnanimous tutor and a venomous rival. Surviving the intrigues of her trade and the upheavals of war, the resourceful Sayuri is a romantic heroine on the order of Jane Eyre and Scarlett O’Hara. And Memoirs of a Geisha is a triumphant work – suspenseful, and utterly persuasive.”

So, I’ll be honest with you, I’ve seen the movie already and I loved it. I bought the book as soon as I saw it about four or five years ago but, unfortunately, it has been sitting on my shelf ever since. Every time I’ve moved, I’ve brought this novel with me. I always think, “I’ll definitely read this soon,” but somehow I’ve never gotten around to it.

I think I was drawn to Memoirs of a Geisha, the book and the movie, because I enjoy learning about different cultures and the story is kind of taboo since it’s about a geisha, which is basically a prostitute.

The movie did a pretty good job of showing you what went on inside Sayuri’s mind since it was narrated by her grown up self. I hope that the book takes me further into her mind as well as some of the other characters. I’d love to read more about Hautsumomo because I was so intrigued by her character in the movie.

All of that being said, I’m very excited to get started on this blog. I haven’t been able to read for pleasure much since I’ve been in college so I love that this is giving me an excuse to read for fun!

In my next post, I’ll be talking about the novel so far and I want your feedback. What do you want to know about Memoirs of a Geisha? Have you read it before or seen the movie? Let me know! Hopefully I can comment on some of the questions or comments you give me!

Bye for now,

Jenna