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

Factory Girls by Leslie T. Chang
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Apr 27, 12

Read in April, 2012

This was an excellent book. It's the perfect type of non-fiction: an in depth, well written treatment of a very specific and interesting topic. The author spent several years interviewing the women, and the little details she gives of their lives really make the stories authentic. She chose to periodically weave a storyline of her own family history in China throughout the book, and while I could appreciate the artistic notion of juxtaposing her own "migration" with the migrants of the factories, I thought it fell a bit flat and muddied her purpose. I had to push myself through her family history vignettes, and I was always happy to get back to the drama of the girls she was following. This was a rather long, at times dense, but most of the time very interesting book about an important global issue. I appreciated the time she took to create it, because I think it was fascinating to get an inside look at what is happening in the factory world in China. I particularly loved how she presented the reality of the obsession with sons creating freedom for women- there is no way a rural farming family would let a beloved male heir traipse off to the city. Sons are too precious, and they must take over the farm and marry wives to bring into the home to take care of the parents. Daughters, on the other hand? They are seen as burdens, liabilities on the family balance sheet, and they are less likely to be worried over and controlled. Let little Chunming go off to a factory a 22 hour bus ride away when she is only 16? Sure, why not! I had never thought of it that way, but it makes sense. The very disrespect for girls in the rural communities is what gives them greater opportunities in the modern world. At least the centuries long oppression of women is good for something I suppose.
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