Posts filed under ‘Current affairs’

Factory Girls by Leslie T. Chang

Pub Date: Aug. 2009

Non-Fiction (Current/World Affairs)

448 pgs.

This book was recommended to me by a patron, and consuming a steady fiction diet lately left me wanting a good, solid informational read.  I was not disappointed by this book, in which journalist Chang pursues the stories of Chinese “factory girls,” young girls who leave their families and traditional culture for a chance to make money in China’s urban sweatshops, producing high-end clothing, handbags, and cellphones, among many other things.

Chang’s journalistic style flows along nicely, reading much like a novel at times as she delves into the girls’ lives and relationships.  She tells the stories of two girls, Min and Chunming, with the most detail, sprinkling their emails and text messages throughout the narrative.  To me, the girls of the factory seem to have a very “American” attitude–that is, one of pure individualism and upward mobility, of personal ambition, drive and success, that may have clashed with the traditional Chinese values of their rural villages.   The feminist in me was glad, however, that Chang’s clear-eyed presentation did not present the girls as total victims; theirs was a choice that they wielded with surprising control.  Along the way, readers learn personal bits about Chang herself, such as why she decided to live in China and the disconnect she feels among the residents there.  But the book belongs to Chang’s subjects, who are, as they prove in her pages, clearly a force to be reckoned with.  A thought-provoking, eye-opening book.

July 3, 2010 at 6:23 pm Leave a comment


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