Factory Girls: From Village to City in a Changing China
by: Leslie T. Chang
Published by: Spiegel & Grau
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Reviewed by Nicole M. Winget
When I sat down to read this book, I had a mental image of China. It turns out my mental image was nothing like what China is really like. From the rural areas to the crowded compartments of the largest Chinese cities, Factory Girls paints a picture of what China is really like and how the women who reside there struggle to become successful and wealthy.
This book takes a look at several young Chinese women as they traverse the Chinese factory life. The author follows these women as they jump from job to job, seek self improvement and attempt to find love, or at least permanency. It follows the woman from their small rural environment to their big city factory lives and back again. The picture is often grim for these women but the author manages to find the best in every situation, showing their struggles to better themselves and carve out a better life. In the course of seeking out and working with these women, the author finds the history of her own family.
The author makes these women very real and very close. You probably won’t like all of them but you will most likely respect their struggles and successes. The narrative is beautifully descriptive and always entertaining. The people and environments are richly described and easy to picture.
The only complaint comes from the fact that the book jumps around quite a bit. A large numbers of individuals are discussed in the book, leading to a bit of confusion keeping the names straight. That being said, as long as you keep an eye on the names, it is not too hard to keep your place.
Eye-opening and mind-expanding, Factory Girls is a fascinating look at Chinese culture. Captivating and entertaining, it is a must read.
Armchair Interviews says: A unique look at the women of this large and industrious country.
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