Factory Girls

Factory Girls

From Village to City in A Changing China

Book - 2008
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China has more than 114 million migrant workers, which represents the largest migration in human history. But while these workers, who leave their rural towns to find jobs in China's cities, are the driving force behind China's growing economy, little is known about their day-to-day lives or the sociological significance of this massive movement. In Factory Girls, Leslie T. Chang tells the story of these workers primarily through the lives of two young women whom she follows over the course of three years. Chang vividly portrays a world where you can lose your boyfriend and your friends with the loss of a cell phone; where lying about your age, your education, and your work experience is often a requisite for getting ahead; where a few computer or English lessons can catapult you into a completely different social class. Throughout this affecting portrait of migrant life, Chang also interweaves the story of her own family's migrations, within China and to the West, providing a historical frame of reference for her investigation. At a time when the Olympics will have shifted the world's focus to China, Factory Girls offers a previously untold story about the immense population of unknown women who work countless hours, often in hazardous conditions, to provide us with the material goods we take for granted. A book of global significance, it demonstrates how the movement from rural villages to cities is remaking individual lives and the fates of families, transforming our world much as immigration to America's shores remade our own society a century ago.
Publisher: New York : Spiegel & Grau, 2008
Edition: 1st ed
ISBN: 9780385520171
Branch Call Number: 331 .4 CHA
Characteristics: 420 p. :,map ;,25 cm


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WVMLStaffPicks Oct 20, 2014

Wall Street journalist Leslie Chang pieces together the lives of young factory workers in Dongguan, a city of more than 7 million migrants, and at the same time re-visits her Chinese heritage.

Sep 06, 2012

Really enjoyed this book. Before I read it, I thought it might be more of an examination of the bad practices that go on in factories in China. However, it is more an exploration of the lives of girls that work in these factories. Great read!

May 04, 2012

This is a must-read! For anyone who's wondered what 'Made in China' really means:


Jul 09, 2011

This is not a "novel" as another commentator seems to think. It is a fascinating non-fiction book that gives us an inside look at how much China has changed in the last 3 decades. Where does the western world get its enormous supply of affordable commercial goods? From the hard work of these migrant factory girls. And far from being cogs on an assembly line, these very young girls and women show a resolve and determination that we, western parents, struggle to instill in our own children. Their stories, and by connection the story of our evolving global economy, are wonderfully told in this book.

Oct 21, 2009

This novel is ok but I wasn't able to get past the first 100 pages. It reads like a news documentary, which I'd love to watch on tv but couldn't stay interested to read the 300+ pages

carknerdy Aug 12, 2009

Quite an interesting read for someone looking to see another side of China. It's about rural girls moving to the big industrial cities to work an endless series of anonymous, low-paying, precarious factory jobs.
The only drawback is that the American author makes her outsider views too central to the feeling of the book. She should have sat back and tried to report what the other people felt a bit more.

Aug 06, 2009

I knew many of the points illustrated in the book beforehand from other sources - most of them obtained during my life in Korea - but it did serve as a confirmation of the status of briskly changing china's cultural, economical, and moral landscape.


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Aug 06, 2009

"You had to believe that you mattered even though you were one among millions." (pg 55)

"The illicit assembly of authentic parts" (pg 101)

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