So I read this book in a Readalong on Goodreads. I was “supposed” to read a chapter a day for the whole month of May but because this book fascinated me so much I just bulldozed to the ending two weeks before the Readalong was even finished.
What can I say? I am a mood reader; I just go along with what interests me.
Oh, so the movie isn’t as good as the book. No surprise there. But I will say that the movie was done well enough that it was the reason I picked up the book in the first place.
So that said, in my opinion you would either like or hate this book. This book intrigued me and there are parts that made me angry at the injustice the character goes through. The main theme that I kept seeing is trusted people taking advantage of Sayuri ignorance.
I felt that these characters were well developed, and the story line was interesting. Though I have to admit, maybe at the last 100 pages it kind of got boring for me. But it is worth the read in my opinion.
Sayuri wasn’t always named Sayuri, but actually her name was Chiyo, a fisherman’s daughter in the beginning in the early 1900’s. Her story begins in a small fishing village called Yoroido that was commonly referred to as a dump. She lived in what she described as a Tipsy House that was set on the cliffs by the sea. She lived there with her sister Satsu, her father and her mother whose health is slowly declining.
Chiyo is not like a lot of her kids when it comes to features, she is unique in a way because she has her mothers eyes which are blue-gray. Those same eyes which captivates Mr. Tanaka, the local businessman in town. Unfortunately, he is the key to starting this journey for Chiyo and her sister Satsu.
Mr. Tanaka was able to convince Chiyo’s father to give them a better chance at life by giving Chiyo and Satsu to him. Chiyo’s father, who probably felt like he was dying soon as well, wanted to give his daughters a better life as well, so he agreed to the arrangement. Basically he kinda sold them into slavery. But through the whole course of the transaction, you see Chiyo and Satsu were really left in the dark about what was really transpiring without their consent. So in the dark to the point that Chiyo really believed she was getting adopted but it was totally the opposite.
Without being really told what happening, they were taken to the city of Gion, a district in Tokyo. Once there, the sisters were separated. Satsu unfortunately was sold to a brothel and Chiyo was sold to an Okiya where she would be trained to be a Geisha.
But it wasn’t an easy road to becoming a Geisha for Chiyo. Hatsumomo who is a successful Geisha in this same Okiya and also to be found to have the most foul temper as well. She is a bully, a liar, and a manipulator to make Chiyo’s experience horrible. Hatsumomo was threatened by Chiyo now Sayuri because of the potential success she may have and she wanted to ruin her for it.
You get introduced to Mameha where she becomes her big sister which is the key reason as to why Sayuri (Chiyo) got her name and becomes a famous Geisha in Gion.
You see the ritual of selling the mizuage which is selling her virginity to the highest bidder. How important it is to have a danna for the success of being a Geisha. A lot of questionable things that back then made sense to them but modern society is this child sex trafficking.
I love learning about Asian culture and it was fascinating to see Sayuri’s journey to get what she truly desires even after facing so many obstacles. Even though there was several parts that angered me in this read, I still enjoyed it and would recommend it to anyone.
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