03 January, 2006

Memoirs Of A Geisha

Ivy politely asks "how is it, anyway?"

Well, Ivy. I'll tell you. [And everyone else]

I think I'm broken somehow, because everyone seems to love this book. The back cover is slathered in gushy praise and all the review sites laud it as the Second Coming of Literature.

I, however, think of this book in much the same way I view the front half of EPCOT, Kix cereal, and most pieces by Mahler. I don't care how fun you try to make it, it's still just a 'good-for-you' fieldtrip type thing. Dead boring.

One of my brother's best friends is the Whitest Guy Alive. His whole life he's romanticized and fantacized about Asian women. I have nothing against Asian Women, as long as they don't talk on their cellphones in bookstores or break up legendary rock bands with their underhanded deviousness. But there just seem to be people (mainly fellas) who fall in love with that culture, and that world. The man who wrote this book seems to be cast from that mold. Just your average white guy who thinks that there's nothing sexier than the world as seen through his Flower Drum Schlong. So this book is the sum total of his collection of factoids about an Asian subculture, as viewed through his Anglicized eyes. That, more than anything else, gets me. It purports to be an honest look inside a subculture. I'm not from that subculture, but I've read books by people who are and there's a definite difference. Memoirs seems forced--more like a Harvard Asianophile FanFiction.

But hey. You can borrow my copy if you wanna read it.

Updated to add the "An" that was in my mind, but didn't make it to the keyboard. There are many subcultures within the Asian culture. Geishadom is but one of those. I hate that I implied that Asian Culture is just a subculture. That was the stupidest typo ever. And no, I didn't get an email about it. I'm editing my own self.

11 Comments:

At 9:36 AM, January 04, 2006, Blogger saraclark said...

Oh, Thank you. Finally someone else who feels the same way. I got the book thinking it would be a good story with some insights into the culture. Then I found out it was written by a man(strike 1), who was American(strike 2) and from a completely different generation than the story(strike 3). It is romanticized, ficition like you said and some Science Fiction books have been more believable. Another thinly veiled cultural rip-off and everyone will believe it's accurate and true. I'm not going to see the movie, but I am sure the story has been twisted around again.

 
At 9:43 AM, January 04, 2006, Blogger Michael said...

I haven't read the book and honestly I've not been tempted to put it on my reading list. Not sure why...but I just don't feel all that compelled to read it. But then again I am weird like that...

Now when does that new Stephen King book come out?!?

 
At 11:18 AM, January 04, 2006, Blogger Ivy, the Great and Powerful said...

I *do* wanna borrow it, when I am finished slogging through Centennial. It can't possibly be worse than Centennial, can it? :)

 
At 8:30 PM, January 08, 2006, Anonymous tom said...

I think that Geishamania is a throwback to the trashy romance novel.

As Bobby Lee parodied on MadTV "This is just another story of a girl who grows up to be a hooker, but this time she's AAAASSSIAN"

The tagline to the parody trailer was "A High-Faluttin' version of the SAME OLD CRAP"

 
At 7:35 PM, January 15, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Let me guess...a) your white...b) you've never bothered to talk to anyone of Japanese heritage or attempted to actually learn about the culture before you start writing off a book...c) don't consider that an 'outsider' point of view might add a different perspective than a japanese point of few (as people have a tendency to sugarcoat and paint over the flaws of their own culture...pick any 'typical' Indian 'hindi' movie and you'll see what I mean)...and one more thing, before you start posting famous hindi quotes, try finding out what they mean.

- Irritated reader

 
At 1:14 AM, January 16, 2006, Blogger Kat Coble said...

Let me answer:

1. Yes, I'm white.

2. Yes, I've talked to several Japanese people, some who liked the book and some who didn't.

3. I've considered that. I just don't think THIS outsider had anything to add that was relevant.

4. I know what the quote means. Hindi though it may be, I chose it because it is part of a T.S. Eliot poem. I know full well what the quote means and full well what it means to me.

Glad I could be of such complete irritation to you.

 
At 6:53 PM, January 27, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I completely agree with you. I happen to be both Asian and a Japanese studies major and I was throughly disgusted by the book and even more so with the movie. Being a man he obviously had no clue what geisha endure. Instead his novel, which he ironicly decided to entitle "MEMOIRS of a Geisha" is a watered down love story that's just so cliche.

 
At 11:03 PM, February 14, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Little miss white trash, stop over analyzing everything. If you don't like the book, you don't have to waist hours of your "life" criticizing good literature. Have you written an award winning novel? no? I didn't think so, you probably don't even know what a geisha is. I am of Japanese heritage and would like to award you with the title of inane wannabe who has to criticize other people's work to feel good about herself. Omedetou bakka~ you're now officially retarded. =D

 
At 7:16 PM, April 08, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with Anonymous here, you are retarded! :0 big suprise, I wouldn't expect an outsider like you to understand anything about a different culture, hmmm I guess that's just how pompus some people can be. Have a nice day, but first, get your head out of your ass :)

 
At 11:49 AM, January 06, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

you're just as clueless as he is about what geisha endure. idiot. and if you read the intro before the book you would know that he talked to a former geisha and based the story around what she said..

 
At 10:13 PM, January 28, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This book is very boring, I just don't care about the plot. If you realy like this book, could you write a paper for me, it due Feb-10
(is she in power or not). send to aLLain01@msn.com

 

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