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Factory Girls: From Village to City in a Changing China | [Leslie T. Chang]

Factory Girls: From Village to City in a Changing China

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.
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Publisher's Summary

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 30; where you can lose your boyfriend and your friends with the loss of a mobile phone; and 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.

©2008 Leslie Chang; (P)2008 Tantor

What the Critics Say

"A gifted storyteller, Chang plumbs...private narratives to craft a work of universal relevance." (Publishers Weekly)
"An exceptionally vivid and compassionate depiction of the day-to-day dramas, and the fears and aspirations, of the real people who are powering China's economic boom." (The New York Times)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.9 (253 )
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  •  
    Revis Los Angeles, CA, United States 10-04-12
    Revis Los Angeles, CA, United States 10-04-12 Member Since 2011
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    "Excellent book, poor narration"
    If you could sum up Factory Girls in three words, what would they be?

    Excellent reporting. Recommend.


    How could the performance have been better?

    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.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Virginia California 01-15-12
    Virginia California 01-15-12 Member Since 2003
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    "Learned so much about subject"
    Any additional comments?

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Geekazoid Prairie Village, KS USA 03-19-12
    Geekazoid Prairie Village, KS USA 03-19-12 Member Since 2002

    Larry

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    "Poignant, heartbreaking and hopeful."

    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.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    kimberlytere United States 01-19-12
    kimberlytere United States 01-19-12 Member Since 2011
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    "boring"

    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!

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jonnie Panama City, FL, United States 09-20-09
    Jonnie Panama City, FL, United States 09-20-09 Member Since 2007
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    "I enjoyed most of it"

    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.

    1 of 5 people found this review helpful
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