I just read Memoirs of a Geisha for the first time this week. Yes, I know I’m the very last person on Earth and I’m about 13 years late. I just got around to it, with the exciting jet set life I lead. It was a very easy read and took me less than a week (which is super fast for me since I read like molasses). Anyway, I have mixed feelings.
When I read I get myself very involved with the characters and their world, as I’m sure many people do. It’s like I’m another invisible character right there in the action. The story changes my perspective on reality a little bit while I’m reading it. A book is a portal to another world for me, just as it is with most people.
Perhaps that’s why I still like the modern way of writing that involves mostly plot. I have that American-born-in-this-age need to identify with the characters of a story and then have it end happily. I allow myself to get pulled in because I know there will be reward at the end – a nice big, fat, juicy, make-it-all-better ending. Ahhh. Life all makes sense because the main characters find one another and live happily ever after.
Except sometimes I love a book where the plot is just this thing going on while you learn about the people. It’s a little bit more freeing because it’s less like being caught onstage during a play and feeling rushed around by the action and more like going to a tea party with strangers and gradually getting to know them through conversation without anything actually happening. You leave the dinner party and you have some new friends. The end.
Speaking of which: I finally finished Moby Dick. I’ll spare you that until later.
Anyway, back to Memoirs. I liked that the plot moved along and I enjoyed the story. I got involved with the characters to a degree and it was all balanced with the right things happening in the right places. But there was just something about it.
If you haven’t read it and plan to, you might want to stop here so that I don’t spoil it for you.
I wanted to feel good about the ending, but I just couldn’t. I felt like I was in a melancholy mood the entire time I read it and it never changed right to the end. I know she ends up with the guy she wanted but I suppose that in the end I couldn’t overcome the circumstances. I just felt sad. Then she moved away. More sad. I suppose I expected a happy ending. Like….a HAPPY one. Wasn’t going to happen. Should have seen it coming.
I wouldn’t say I was disappointed, but I felt better at the end of Moby Dick. I really did. Although, I didn’t expect a happy ending there. I guess that goes to show you what expectations can do.
I sort of want to read the real memoirs of the woman this was supposedly loosely based on but I just don’t think I can bring myself. I feel as though I owe it to myself to get a more rounded perspective on the whole thing, but I just want to shake off this feeling and move on to something where things explode and the bad guys die. Oh, and it’s a perfect Hollywood ending where the boy and girl kiss in the sunset.
I can’t believe I just admitted that.
That’s all I have to say about that.
Now I have to go and read the letters that Melville wrote to Hawthorne that are printed in the back of the copy I have of Moby Dick. I’m nosey about dead people’s lives like that.