The Buddha in the Attic – a book summary

Nobody win war. Everybody lose. (p.87)

THEY want a life outside the farm, outside the country, apart from their countryman. They dream of a life with a rich husband who won’t force them to spend day and night tending the farm and the house. They dream of a life far from their boring hometown, closer to an adventure in the New World. They dream of a happy marriage life with American men who will speak in different language than theirs, who will act differently than their fellow countryman.

Not at all of them get what they wish for. A life in America might be very different from their life in Japan, or might be not so different at all—because some of them get a Japanese man to marry instead of American. Some of them get loving husband, but some are not so lucky. Some spend their future life in luxury, some might find themselves buried yet again in poverty. Some find friends, some find that their neighbours hate them. But in the end, it will all be the same. Just like how their beginnings are so similar to each other’s.

When a war was brewing and America seemed to be not wanting Japanese people live under their sky so freely, the woman who once dreamed were sent to a far away place, where nobody know what happens to them later on.

The Buddha in the Attic is a story about dozens (maybe hundreds) of women who were sent off to America as soon-to-be-bride. It was written mostly in the Japanese women’s perspective—not just one or two or three, but a lot of them. Hence the pronoun “they”. It was a beautiful and tragic story. I love the writing style—it hooked me right from the very beginning.

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