Kate Ward
April 11, 2008 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Bar Flower

type
Book
Current Status
In Season
author
Lea Jacobson
publisher
St. Martin's Press
genre
Memoir, Nonfiction

We gave it an A-

Not long after graduating college, American Lea Jacobson moved to Japan to teach English. Unable to accept strict Japanese norms — hiding her underwear at the bottom of a laundry hamper, for example — she left her host home, got fired, and began working as a nightclub hostess. While flirting with businessmen and persuading them to purchase alcohol, she jump-started an addiction to booze and spiraled into depression. Jacobson’s memoir, Bar Flower, is deeply personal — she doesn’t shy away from her struggles with cutting and eating disorders — but it’s also a thorough, fascinating guide to modern Japanese culture. A-

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