Faced with mindless duty, when an audio book player slips into a rear pocket and mini buds pop into ears, old is made new again.
Leslie Chang is perfectly suited for this journey into the heart of China’s economic transformation. Ms. Chang works for the “Wall Street Journal”. She has family experience of imperial and communist China from the 1920s to the present; she speaks Mandarin Chinese, and grew up in the United States. Chang brings intimate perspective to the dynamics of economic and social change in 21st century China.
“Factory Girls” offers a glimpse of the tremendous cultural change occurring in today’s China. Sixteen year old girls are leaving rural China to seek their future in the City. With little formal education, they fuel the engines of China’s rapid industrial growth. Chang follows several of these amazing young women back and forth from their rural beginnings to their immersion in the difficult life of factory work.
China is not America. Chang’s book is frightening to a parent in an American culture that practices and endorses extended childhood. Imagine an American sixteen year old daughter taking a train to a city where she knows no one, has no financial support, and is expected to make her own living. Imagine an American daughter that has no opportunity except as a barer of male children. What is a Chinese female to do if her life options are so limited? What is any human to do if their options are unfairly limited?
“Factory Girls” is an impressive report of the massive cultural change occurring in China. It is an astounding affirmation of the “will to power” outlined by Friedrich Nietzsche. One cannot help but admire the factory girls of China as ugly as the reality of their lives seem to “too comfortable” Americans.
Excellent reporting. Recommend.
The narrator, Susan Ericksen, is a poor choice for this material. She does not know how to properly pronounce the Mandarin Chinese vocabulary that is part of this story. The audiobook's producers should have hired a Mandarin dialect coach to teach Ericksen Mandarin vowels, consonants -- and why not? -- tones. Even if the listener does not speak a word of Mandarin, one expects the performance to be correct.
This book really helps me understand doing business with China. I had no idea that there was this life going on overseas. They really rely on us bringing them work. Its very educational and entertaining. I just think it dragged in parts especially following the author's heritage. That got a little boring and I got lost. But there is no book like this and everyone should know where everything we use daily comes from. How much labor goes into everything and how PEOPLE make it all, not machines.
Here is the human face of Chinese success. These girls are cast adrift in a Kafkaesque landscape of out of control croney capitalism and socialist sloganeering. Some of these girls have had no contact wtih the State in their entire lives. It sort of gives the lie to the all encompassing and omniscient State in China. There is a bomb ticking in China, but it is not the one everyone thinks it is. This is an important book and you should read it if you want to understand what is going on in China. Susan Ericksen give it a heartfelt and warm reading.
I found this to be dull and boring. I wanted it to draw me in, make me care about the characters. It fell way short!
This was a book that averaged out to be a three for me. There were parts that were five, others four, others two or less. I visited China in 2007 and wanted to experience a side that is not readily revealed to the tourists on the tours. There were parts of the book I really enjoyed but it tended to drag on. A shorter version would have been much better.