rating: 4 of 5 stars
This is a book I probably would not have read on my own had my mom not given it to me as a birthday gift. After reading the inside flap, I thought it sounded interesting and I really did enjoy this book, not in the sense that it is a "feel good" book, rather in the way it dealt with sensitive issues and evoked a lot of sympathy and compassion on my part. Overall, the book has a depressing tone with a silver lining. Without the silver lining I don't think I would have enjoyed this book.
The story is told by an elderly Chinese woman telling the memoir of her life to her great-grandaughter. Her story begins as a 13 year old girl in early 1900s China who, by no choice of her own, is forced into an upper-class prostitution house. She eventually achives the status of ming ji, which is similar to a Geisha in Japanese Culture. Despite her unfortunate circumstances, she always desires to leave this life and be reunited with her mother. The story is filled with a lot of heart ache for love and love lost, but there is always a glimmer of hope that I found myself hanging onto.
I wouldn't say this novel is for everyone. There are some language issues that surface every now and then. After the first several chapters, I felt the author dealt with the sexual aspects more professionally, but any potential reader should know these things before engaging in this book.
The author has created a memorable character who I find myself hurting because the life she endured and yet I find her honorable in overcoming her greatest obstacle in life. If you read and enjoyed Memoirs of a Geisha then you will most likely enjoy this novel.
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