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Factory Girls: From Village to City in a…
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Factory Girls: From Village to City in a Changing China (2008)

by Leslie T. Chang

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
6803214,050 (3.86)59
  1. 30
    Red Lights: The Lives of Sex Workers in Postsocialist China by Tiantian Zheng (mercure)
    mercure: Both these books deal with rural young women in China that travel to the cities looking for a better life in China's current economic boom. Ms. chang concentrates on Donghuan in the Pearl River delta in the south of China, and Ms. Zheng on Dalian in the north. Ms. Zheng also concentrates on the one profession that Ms. Chang seemed less interested in, so from reading both you get a more comprehensive idea of the social changes that China goes through.… (more)
  2. 21
    Factory Girls: Women in the Thread Mills of Meiji Japan by E. Patricia Tsurumi (TomWaitsTables)
  3. 21
    River Town: Two Years on the Yangtze by Peter Hessler (jilld17)
  4. 00
    Northern Girls: Life Goes On by Keyi Sheng (SilentInAWay)
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» See also 59 mentions

English (30)  Dutch (1)  French (1)  All (32)
Showing 1-5 of 30 (next | show all)
Chang's research with young women in factories in 2003-2005 shows that the function of factory work and the situation of rural workers in urban factories has changed significantly from the early studies of the 90s. The "girls" today are developing independence from their rural families. Many are using their earnings to affect family decisions, sometimes over-ruling their parents. At the same time, their traditional cultural beliefs are becoming irrelevant to their current lives, and many struggle to develop a comfortable social life in the new economy. Chang's narrative style is engaging. However, although I understand why she is interested in discussing her family history, the parts about her family were almost maudlin at times. She is a reporter and her discussion of the workers lives is fast paced and unsentimental. The parts about her family history meandered of into philosophical musings that were not either original or particularly interesting. ( )
  kaitanya64 | Jan 3, 2017 |
I thought this was a very interesting look inside the women in China who are struggling to make a better life for themselves and their families. It was clear and well written, although it was hard for me to keep track of which girl was which due to my lack of knowledge of Chinese names. ( )
  Jen.ODriscoll.Lemon | Jan 23, 2016 |
I thought this was a very interesting look inside the women in China who are struggling to make a better life for themselves and their families. It was clear and well written, although it was hard for me to keep track of which girl was which due to my lack of knowledge of Chinese names. ( )
  Jen.ODriscoll.Lemon | Jan 23, 2016 |
Audio book read by Susan Ericksen
3***

Chang, a Chinese-American former correspondent for the Wall Street Journal in Beijing, spent several years researching this report of modern-day China, and the young women migrant workers who leave their small rural villages to go to work in the big-city factories. She focuses her story on two women in particular – Min and Chunming – expounding on the events in their lives to illustrate the plight of the hordes of workers just like them.

Personalizing the story in this way made it highly readable and interesting. As a reader, I was invested in their stories and wanted to know how things would turn out for them. I recognized their immaturity and winced at some of their rationalizations (remembering my own youthful mistakes), but also applauded their tenacity and determination.

However, Chang also uses the book to explore the history of modern-day China by giving us a history of her family. These sections, while illuminating (especially for the reader who is unfamiliar with the country’s political history), drew attention away from the central focus of the book and made me lose interest. I persevered in hopes Chang would get back to Min and Chunming, and fortunately she did.

Susan Ericksen did a fine job of the audio performance. Her pacing was good, and I believe her pronunciation was accurate (but since I don’t speak Chinese, I cannot really tell). However, readers completely unfamiliar with Chinese names may find it easier to read the text version to avoid confusion.

I read this book for my F2F book club and we had a very interesting and spirited discussion about modern-day China. However, this particular book group is made up of women business executives and 12 of the 14 of us had been to China. The usual book discussions on pacing, plot, character development, themes, etc don’t apply to a work of nonfiction such as this, so it may not be suitable for all book groups.
( )
  BookConcierge | Jan 13, 2016 |
(113)
  activelearning | May 23, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 30 (next | show all)
A fascinating ethnography of the young women who labor in the factories of Guangdong, China's richest province, a land of boomtowns where wealth and scams and exploitation and warmth and courage all abound.
added by lampbane | editBoing Boing, Cory Doctorow (Oct 7, 2008)
 

» Add other authors (2 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Leslie T. Changprimary authorall editionscalculated
Ericksen, SusanNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Witteveen, AlbertTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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The factory world was a place without tradition or pedigree, and people had to learn how to redefine themselves.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0385520182, Paperback)

An eye-opening and previously untold story, Factory Girls is the first look into the everyday lives of the migrant factory population in China.


China has 130 million migrant workers—the largest migration in human history. In Factory Girls, Leslie T. Chang, a former correspondent for the Wall Street Journal in Beijing, tells the story of these workers primarily through the lives of two young women, whom she follows over the course of three years as they attempt to rise from the assembly lines of Dongguan, an industrial city in China’s Pearl River Delta.

As she tracks their lives, Chang paints a never-before-seen picture of migrant life—a world where nearly everyone is under thirty; where you can lose your boyfriend and your friends with the loss of a mobile phone; where a few computer or English lessons can catapult you into a completely different social class. Chang takes us inside a sneaker factory so large that it has its own hospital, movie theater, and fire department; to posh karaoke bars that are fronts for prostitution; to makeshift English classes where students shave their heads in monklike devotion and sit day after day in front of machines watching English words flash by; and back to a farming village for the Chinese New Year, revealing the poverty and idleness of rural life that drive young girls to leave home in the first place. Throughout this riveting portrait, Chang also interweaves the story of her own family’s migrations, within China and to the West, providing historical and personal frames of reference for her investigation.

A book of global significance that provides new insight into China, Factory Girls demonstrates how the mass movement from rural villages to cities is remaking individual lives and transforming Chinese society, much as immigration to America’s shores remade our own country a century ago.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:05:45 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

"An eye-opening and previously untold story, Factory Girls is the first look into the everyday lives of the migrant factory population in China." "China has 130 million migrant workers - the largest migration in human history. In Factory Girls, Leslie T. Chang, a former correspondent for the Wall Street Journal in Beijing, tells the story of these workers primarily through the lives of two young women, whom she follows over the course of three years as they attempt to rise from the assembly lines of Dongguan, an industrial city in China's Pearl River Delta." "Factory Girls demonstrates how the mass movement from rural villages to cities is remaking individual lives and transforming Chinese society, much as emigration to America's shores remade our own country a century ago."--BOOK JACKET.… (more)

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