Book Club Review – The Buddah in the Attic by Julie Otsuka

When it comes to books I’ve stopped myself posting about them because I struggle to write about books in a way that I feel comfortable unless it’s to people that I know have read the book. I hate spoilers, I really really hate spoilers but in the same breath it’s difficult to really talk about a book without slipping up and revealing too much.
But guess what? I’m fed up of that cop-out, I love books and I love talking to other people about books so, even if I can’t give some full, in depth analysis of the book without telling you too much, I’d like to post about books more often and I’m going to start with this beauty.
I got ‘The Buddah in the Attic’ as part of the Britmums book club and I was really excited to be getting something which was totally new to me, something that wasn’t from my normal comfort zone of go-to genres and that I, ordinarily, may not have come across if it weren’t for the group. And, thank goodness, the book most definitely made the excitement worthwhile.

Put in the most simple of ways, this book is utterly beautiful. It might sound wrong because the book is about a topic which is heart-breaking but it is the way in which it is written that is just so captivating that it can’t be anything but beautiful.
The book is about a group of Japanese women who travel to America between the wars to marry men that they’ve never met. The story follows these women/girls as they venture into an unknown, terrifying world in which they do not belong and it gives the reader and insight into the various paths that they take; settling in to their new homes, their husbands, jobs, families and the countless other things that they experience following this beginning of their new lives.
The beauty of the book is in the way that their story is told – It is written in the most simple way imaginable yet it still tells so much whilst saying almost nothing at all. It’s a series of sentences, statements, short and succinct but carrying the weight of the experiences of these women throughout the years of hardship that most of them endure. 
There’s no, one main character it is all written as ‘We’, ‘Some of us’, ‘Our’, ‘A few of us’ they are, very much, a collective but at the same time they are, very much, alone. 
I know that I’ve been incredibly vague but this book is one that needs to be read to fully understand how hard it is to put it down. Once I started reading I just couldn’t stop. It’s only a short book but I felt like I learned so so much about those it followed, even though it was told in that simplistic manner I mentioned above.
It’s hard to imagine how a story can be so sad and so beautiful at the same time, but if you read this I’m pretty sure you’ll know what I mean.

This book was sent for my consideration for review for the book club – See disclaimer here


  1. The Beesley Buzz August 17, 2013 / 4:29 pm

    I found it hard to write up about without spoilers too! I love how you've described how the book is written (paragraph 6 above) – so true. xxx

    • admin August 17, 2013 / 5:45 pm

      Thanks, I'm really glad someone else who has read it likes the way I've reviewed it.

      It's soo hard keeping away from spoilers but I think it's worth it if we can inspire people to read it without spoiling it for them 🙂 xx

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