Thursday 22 August 2013

The Buddha in the Attic - A Book Review

I'm part of the BritMums/Penguin Book and was lucky enough to be sent the latest book to read and review. The July book is called 'The Buddha in the Attic' by Julie Otsuka and this is my first book review on the blog so I hope you enjoy!

Before I had Alfie I used to read a lot, I find it quite difficult to find the time now to read as much as I used to but I do make a conscious effort to read for at least 20 minutes each night before bed and to wind down. Joining the BritMums book club has almost forced me to have a little bit of 'me time' and I've thoroughly enjoyed being able to read the latest book and write a review about it.

So what's it about? 

The Buddha in the Attic tells the poignant story of 'mail order' Japanese brides sent to America during the 1900's. Scared, unsure, clutching pictures of their new husbands to be they make the long journey into the unknown, many unable to speak a word of English. They are strangers in a foreign land. We follow their story through marriage, birth and working. It's heartfelt and at times harrowing, the writing is compelling, poetic and captures the story in an almost melancholy way. 

Did I like it? 

In a nutshell, yes I did. It's beautifully written, yet understated and at only 129 pages long it's packs a punch in such a short space of time. It's not the sort of book I would ever choose and this is why I love book clubs, you read a genre that you would never normally consider. Otsuka writes in the first person plural which is so unusual, it's written like a collective voice but you get a real sense of the desperation and sadness these Japanese women felt. The chapters are short and I wanted to keep reading when they came to an end, it really didn't take me long to finish the book. There was nothing I particularly disliked, although at times I found I had to re-read sentences as they are so descriptive I needed to skim them again to fully digest the information.

Once read it occurred to me I really didn't know much about this era and the plights that Japanese immigrants experienced. I found myself thinking about the novel for several hours after I'd read it. 

If you like a powerful story which is thought provoking and poignant then this novel is for you.

About the author. 

Julie Otsuka is an American writer living in New York City. The Buddha in the Attic is her second novel (her first novel is When the Emperor was Divine). She has received various awards and this particular novel was nominated for the 2011 National Book Awards and is also a New York Times bestseller. 

You can purchase from Amazon using the link below!

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* Please note that as part of the Brit Mums book club I am sent the book free to review but the thoughts and opinions are that of my own.


  1. I love that you make time to read a little before bed each day. I signed up to the book club to force myself to make 'me time' too but have really enjoyed taking part. x

    1. It keeps me sane haha plus I wind down a bit. Thank you for the comment :-) X

  2. This sounds really lovely, though not my kind of book, I need blood and gore xx

    Lots of Love Beautyqueenuk!

    1. It's definitely not my usual type of book but it was a nice little read :-) x

  3. I've found the book easy to pick up and put down when I find time, and I too think back on the chapters after I read them. Moving and affecting.

    1. Me too, I liked the fact that it was so easy to get back into, it's a very moving read. X


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