I was disappointed to discover that this is not actually a true memoir of a geisha. I didn’t know this when I picked it up, but it’s all over the bestseller lists right now. I think it’s a decent book; it just wasn’t what I expected.
It’s basically a kind of 20th century regency romance, set in Japan.
If I had known it was that sort of story, I would have been really impressed. The description of how Sayuri becomes a geisha, and the historical setting is descriptive and interesting.
But the Pretty Woman style happy ending is a little disappointing. I had hoped she would be a strong woman and set out on her own. I concede that was probably personal taste.
Plenty of people love that sort of story, and this is a good one of its kind.
I should say, I heard this book on tape, rather than read it. A woman with a Japanese accent reads the audio version. Her reading was very engaging, and the accent added a dimension of location that would not have been present on the page.