Factory Girls: From Village to City in a Changing China

Factory Girls: From Village to City in a Changing China

by Leslie T. Chang
3.9 27

Paperback(Reprint)

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Overview

Factory Girls: From Village to City in a Changing China by Leslie T. Chang

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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780385520188
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 08/04/2009
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 448
Sales rank: 182,973
Product dimensions: 5.20(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

Leslie T. Chang, a graduate of Harvard University, lived in Beijing for a decade, where she worked as a correspondent for the Wall Street Journal. She is married to Peter Hessler, who also writes about China. Leslie lives in Colorado.

Susan Ericksen lives on the East Coast, where she performs on stage and on television. An Audie Award and AudioFile Earphones Award winner, she has recorded many audiobooks.

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Factory Girls 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 27 reviews.
Vermillion_Bear More than 1 year ago
I loved this book. It was really interesting to hear about the young women leaving home to pursue a better life in China's industrial cities. It was nice for Leslie to show the contrast of their lives back home in their rural villages, compared to how they live life away from home in an urban environment. How they are able to change identities and how easy it is to lose track of someone if anything happens to their cellphone. Just shows how much of a migrant life these young women lead. I was surprised to learn that some of the factories were so large, that they had their own communities with housing, markets, and community areas such as parks and schools for migrant families. The book doesn't only focus on girls in factories, since there is a small chapter on bar girls and "working" girls. This book really makes me want to visit China and see the economic and physical changes taking place there. Great read and very interesting. I hope Leslie Chang writes another book soon.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
BrianGriffith More than 1 year ago
This is marvelous reporting, with a personal touch and a gigantic scope. Chang checks out the greatest migration in world history--the 160 million-plus village job seekers who have flooded into China's urban industries. And most of these people, it seems, are just girls--leaving home, moving out, and moving up. Chang befriends some, sharing their stories of pounding the pavement between jobs, slaving 14-hour days, living in factory dorms, and constantly scheming for a better life. The schemes are the main things that drive the action. These girls are trying to teach themselves English, taking semi-bogus skills seminars, lying about their experience in job fairs, moving up to secretary or sales rep. Most of the girls Chang meets are lonely, justifiably paranoid, and fearsomely self-reliant. Their ambitions and desires are the real force driving China's transformation. Chang weaves in the story of her own family, with its earlier generations of pioneering migrants. I think this part of the book is a bit too long and detailed, but it helps set a wider context for the present drama. Her book is about migrants, their adventures, their courage, and the change they bring to the world. It's about people, not social trends. But along the way, Chang can't help but paint a big picture. And for me, several things stand out about modern China. One is that, unlike the cities of Mexico, Brazil, Kenya, or India, China's cities are not surrounded by migrant shantytowns. The factories mostly have prison-like dormitories for the migrants. Also, China's villages remain intact. The laws prevent landlords or moneylenders from evicting whole families and villages off the land. Only the semi-willing job seekers go to the city and enter the Satanic mills. On the whole, the setting Chang paints looks grim. But the characters are pulsing with life and hope. --author of A Galaxy of Immortal Women: The Yin Side of Chinese Civilization
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I finished this book because it is an area that one doesn't read about often. It was often disjointed and boring, however.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Amazing
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The book was a good book at a great price. I needed this book to read for college. This was one of the cheapest copies that was new online. I also got free shipping because I bought all my school books online at barnes and nobels. Shipping was good. The price was great.
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badgerreader More than 1 year ago
After reading this book, I am not sure you want to buy anything made in China.
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waikikisam More than 1 year ago
The author shared her experiences in her acquaintance with a couple of teenage migrant workers; depicting the life style and popular mentality of young migrant workers. China sustains its economic growth by exploiting the massive labor force consists of young migrant workers. Anything with a 'made in China' label maybe produced with the blood, sweat and tears of teenage girls.
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