Betsy's Reviews > Factory Girls: From Village to City in a Changing China

Factory Girls by Leslie T. Chang
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's review
Sep 13, 2010

liked it
Read in September, 2010

If I could, I'd give this journey through changing China three and a half stars. It's well-written and paints a spot-on picture of the changing landscape in China's factory-centric cities. Much as the industrial revolution changed the face of the United States in the late 1800's, China is now evolving with massive migration to cities and a changing economic future. Chang chooses to follow young girls who have migrated to the city for factory work and explore their ups and downs through job changes, difficult living situations, visits to the countryside to see family, dating in a quickly changing culture and balancing the traditions of China with the new face of the nation. I was delighted to find that this book wasn't an indictment of factory conditions but instead an exploration on the impact of migration on the culture at large. Chang's personal history is woven through the book that gives the current migration movement context.

My only complaints would be that the book felt as though it was written in vignettes, making it easy to put down between chapters without picking it up again for days. I also wish the book has touched more on the actual working conditions inside the factories, although that may have been an indication of limited access. Regardless, having recently returned from China, I found this to be a spot-on portrayal of the rapidly growing nation and the challenges that lie therein.

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