Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden

[TRIGGER WARNING: sexual assault; This book opened a lot of mental blocks that I had put up. I want to share and talk about those things in the first half of this review so if this topic is sensitive to you or makes you uncomfortable, I encourage you to stop here.]


I have to start this by confiding in you, readers. While I don’t often feel that it is necessary to share personal traumas in an unsolicited way, my experiences have to be understood in order for you to have an idea of why this book means so much to me… Two years ago, I was sexually assaulted. I will spare the details in favor of telling you that, while I am physically okay and have reached a place of healing I previously thought was impossible, the emotionally and mentally debilitating aspects of my experience have never really left me. My first breakthrough took a year for me to achieve and since then, I have found a deeper solace in reading the stories penned by others, their life stories, their memoirs.

That is the reason why I first picked up this book: It said “memoir.” But don’t be fooled, the book is pure fiction written by a man who took the time and effort to study the lifestyles of Japan’s most fetishized women. He then takes his readers back in time to a foreign place, mid-century Japan.

The tale he weaves is heart-breaking and oddly comforting. He creates an entire life that I found so unrealistically relatable. The rags-to-riches story of a young girl who is forced into an overtly sexualized occupation and finds success beyond it was so inspiring to me. In fact, I discovered a new variety of healing from my own forced sexual encounter between its pages. It resonates with me more than any (excepting two) other novel has before. The antagonist is resilient in the face of adversity and finds hope and success in a truly dark and twisted place. I wouldn’t call it a pick-me-up novel but for anyone that may need a reminder that pushing on may just be the best thing you can ever do, read it.

[unashamed plug] If this book, or any of the other ones I’ve reviewed have sparked your urge to buy a new read, come see what I have in my shop! I always appreciate your support and there are some extra hollyandoates exclusive goodies included.

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