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Fabrieksmeisjes: indringend portret van twee jonge vrouwen in het moderne China

3.92  ·  Rating details ·  8,054 ratings  ·  983 reviews
Twee jonge vrouwe, de zestienjarige Min en de twintigjarige Chunming, hebben hun familie op het platteland achtergelaten in ruil voor een anoniem bestaan als fabrieksmeisje in de industriestad Dongguan in Zuidoost-China. Schrijfster Leslie Chang raakt bevriend met deze jonge vrouwen en volgt hen bijna drie jaar lang tijdens hun pogingen om hogerop te komen. Op meeslepende ...more
Paperback, 396 pages
Published April 4th 2009 by Artemis & Co (first published January 1st 2008)
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Jacqueline Tan Not entirely relevant in today's context. It is worth reading if you want to know what happened around that time. China has changed tremendously in pa…moreNot entirely relevant in today's context. It is worth reading if you want to know what happened around that time. China has changed tremendously in past decade. A lot of the Chinese migrant workers are now working abroad where the money is good.(less)
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Grace Tjan
In the early 2000s, my brother briefly worked as an executive for a Taiwanese-owned manufacturing company in China. It was a company of truly epic proportions, employing hundreds of thousands in China and abroad, and manufacturing for virtually all the big names in consumer electronics sold all over the world. If you use an IPad or any other Apple product, it would have passed through one of its gargantuan production facilities. Its ‘campus’ in Longhua, an industrial suburb of Shenzhen, was prac ...more
Mikey B.
If you have ever wondered about the people who make most of the objects we use on a daily basis – like running shoes, home appliances, kitchen utensils... read this book. We are given an insightful view of their lives and surroundings.

Most of them are young women who come from rural areas. They essentially abandon the rural lifestyle to embark on an urban factory journey. Most will change jobs several times. They will meet a myriad of friends who just come and go. Their lives are forever altered
Aug 27, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
While being able to relate to Chang certainly is not a prereq for enjoying this book, I think I've had a different experience reading this book than non-Chinese-Americans may have. My mom grew up working in sweatshops and factories in Shanghai and Hong Kong in the 1960s and 1970s, so this book has been really interesting as a look into the generation of girls that came after her. She had limited schooling, and worked with her hands her entire life. The mentality of moving up and switching jobs a ...more
Jul 11, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
There are two great reasons to read this book! One, the direct relevance it has to almost everyone alive today who consumes products of any sort (shoes, bags, cell phone parts, computer parts) made by the intrepid young working ladies of Dongguan in Southern China that the author describes in this book. Second, Ms. Chang's narrative voice was truly a pleasure to read.

The material itself is fascinating and up-to-the minute-timely; the book details how a huge migration is taking place in China, t
I am truly at a loss for how to rate this book. It was entirely new information, I vacillated between fascination, horror, and awe…. And then complete boredom. This book could have easily been 150 pages shorter, there were times that it was excruciatingly repetitive, and at one point I actually thought tom myself, “Hasn’t she already told this story?”

The pacing for this book was entirely wrong. The setup and presentation of information was wrong. It seemed so helter skelter. The stories felt l
L.A. Starks
Jul 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book was published in 2009 and the highest compliment I can give is that I wish I'd known about it (A New York Times Notable Book of the Year) and read it then.

While Chang weaves in her own life story, which is fascinating, she focuses on several Chinese teen-aged girls and young women who've "gone out" from their villages, where there's no work, and found jobs in cities like Dongguan. Even though I usually reject the premise that the anecdotes speak for the whole, in this case, the depth o
Emma Deplores Goodreads Censorship
You might expect a book about the lives of migrant workers in China to be incredibly depressing, full of tales of abuse. This book isn't like that at all; it's informative, and doesn't gloss over ugly things, but nor does it beat you down.

Factory Girls focuses on the lives of young women living in Dongguan, a huge city in southern China filled with factories and inhabited mainly by migrant workers. The author spent several years getting to know workers there, and most of the book tells their sto
Feb 23, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: world
For me this book felt like a gentle drenching in the culture of Dongguan - a city that grew up from small sweatshop factories and burgeoned into a town of massive enterprises, sucking in migrant workers from rural villages hundreds of miles away.

Seventy thousand people now work at the Yue Yuen factory in Dongguan. "Inside the compound's brick walls, workers sleep in factory dorms and eat in factory cafeterias and shop at factory commissaries. Yue Yuen runs a kindergarten for employees' children
Brit Cheung
Nov 17, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I acquired this little book last year from a local library that has piles of English books particularly and neatly stacked up in a room, quite cozy and convenient for readers who like to be more bilingual (like me).

The protagnists are those migrant female workers, the young girls who fleed their imporverished rural villages in quest of a better city life.

The book primarily covered a period from late 90s and early 00s. At a time particularly in 90s, if they strive for something new they need to c
Aug 10, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Some people, when they travel, are most amazed by the differences they find ... the donkeys, the tuk-tuks, the rat-on-a-platter, the strange drinks and weird foods. Others are most taken aback by the unexpected similarities: the corn farmer with a cell phone, the slum dweller playing Grand Theft Auto 4, the kids who rock out to punk and metal. The best travel writers and foreign reporters, though, simply see.

This is a splendid, splendid book. It's not only better than I expected, it might even
Nov 24, 2008 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I was very disappointed in this book. It was very disorganized.
The way it jumped from one thing to another with no transition beyond some extra space on the page was quite disorienting. (E.g., one section ended with a statement about an old relative laying in bed waiting to die and the next paragraph started with a description of a table loaded with food.)

The descriptions and conclusions also seemed very superficial. I chose the book because I was very interested in learning about life in China
Amazing (but really not shocking) how much cultural overlap there is between the families depicted in this book and Afghan families. Young women leaving their rural homes to work in urban factories tilted the social hierarchy. Their agency came from their economic empowerment.

Plenty of people have asked me when I think the status of girls/women in Afghanistan will fundamentally change or when the bacha posh practice will cease to exist. I've always believed that the more society sees women as c
Feb 11, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
This book is more than a little dated by now, but it still gives the reader a useful look into the Chinese psyche. While the realities of the cities mentioned in it, like Shenzhen & Dongguan, have undoubtedly changed a lot, there are still large swathes of the country yet to experience the same wave of transformation. As China now develops inwards away from key coastal areas, these other areas will likely go through the same metamorphosis.

One statement quoted several times in the book stuck with
3 stars but at times 2 1/2. Parts were very interesting while other parts seemed repetitive. The author focuses on a couple of young women who leave the country areas of China, travel to the main cities and seek work in the factories there. Their stories are sad mostly, as they are at the mercy of unscrupulous employers. However they also live an unreal lifestyle - easily moving from one factory to the next (often just on the say so of a stranger) in the hope that conditions would be better else ...more
Jan 01, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book explores two related topics: the conditions and situation of female migrant workers in China, and the author's family history in China (she is American but her family immigrated in the mid-20th century). The former is much, much more compelling than the latter, which to me seemed meaningful for the author but ultimately not compelling enough, or connected enough to the broader story, to warrant being included in the book. Some of the interesting things I learned from this book:
Jul 10, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
When my sister asked what I was reading recently, I told her it was a book about Chinese factory workers.

“God, you’re worthy,” she replied scathingly.

But the thing is – despite its worthy subject matter and uncomfortably small print – Factory Girls is actually a highly enjoyable read. Providing a flipside to all those “terrible working conditions, suicides, general calamity” articles about manufacturing in China, Leslie T Chang seeks to find out more about the average Chinese factory worker on a
Larry Bassett
Sep 15, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this book 1st about 10 years ago and just now have listen to it and audible while following along with the Kindle version. As a result I have taken a lot of paragraphs out of the book and they are included along with this review.

The author is a Chinese American Who speaks Chinese and spent a considerable amount of time interacting with people at a very human level to be able to write this book. But as she acknowledges in the book she primarily relies on her relationship with only two youn
Mar 23, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is a bit hard to review because it is somewhat more complex than one would first expect.
The story turns out to be a bit different than the preconceived notion also.

For the positive, the writer had a background at the wall st journal,
probably the least biased newspaper in America and this gave her the mindset and habit to write an interesting and unbiased account of this unusual mass migration from rice patty to factory.

She also integrated her life with her subjects to an unusual deg
Apr 10, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone
Recommended to James by: Bay Area Book Geeks
An account of girls moving from rural areas to the big cities for better opportunities, a universal story that could be told in different countries and by many women, including my mother. The first bit of this includes the fairly brutal factory conditions, the chaotic hiring practices and poor living conditions, mill girls from the 19th century gave similar accounts, the Chinese version has been in the news lately.

Next the author gives an account of her grandfather's quest for education that in
Kuang Ting
Dec 17, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Author Leslie Chang is Peter Hessler's wife. The couple is renowned for their non-fiction books on contemporary China. Chang uses plain yet informative language to write the stories of factory girls. This book is said to be the first in its kind dealing with this group. Factory girls are those who leave hometown for cities on the East Coast. Major manufacturing hubs are in these big cities. They can't earn enough money in villages. Therefore, many people abandon their schools and start working i ...more
Nov 10, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Leslie Chang is a newspaper writer, not a novelist, and it shows in her first book. Though the subject matter is fascinating (an entire generation of Chinese children abandoning their farm lives to make money in the clogged, smoggy cities), Chang's details often get jumbled. In the same paragraph, she will jump forward and backward in time. I found some of this very confusing; she apparently hates chronological order.

Plus, she interjects a heavy dose of her personal family history, ostensibly t
Nov 29, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: travel, asia, non-fiction
China today is really the wild, wild west - except with a lot more people. The rural girls who "go out" to the factories learn very quickly that they can only rely on themselves, and lying and cheating are a normal way of life. It's amazing to think this is the reality for thousands of people who make all the little unnecessary things that clutter out lives. I didn't think the author's exploration of her own family really added to the story, but rather was a distraction (I might have given the b ...more
May 13, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Review of Factory Girls, by Leslie T. Chang, 2009

Leslie Chang spent two years with women workers in Guangdong, China to produce this book. It is basically an ethnographic account – though she does not convey it in these terms being a journalist for the Wall Street Journal. The basic message is simple: women workers find their work meaningful. Not the work itself which is mindless and alienating. Rather, meaning emerges as the by-product of the work: money, status, skills, and mobility. Westerner
May 01, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A good book on the lives of the women who make everything in what has become the factory of the world.

Before Chang, there was no book-length treatment in English of the women who were working in the factories in Southeast China, making the million things that we all buy. Chang rectifies this, doing a great job burrowing into their world, showing the reader what they want and why they make the choices that they do. She is a journalist, but Chang does such a great job, she almost feels like an an
Sarah Jacquie
Jul 23, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: chinese, life
LOL this is my longest review ever, but it is because I was so engrossed in it! I loved every page, every story, and I loved being able to glimpse into the rare world told from a compassionate view and not an economical study of China feeding the world with materialism. In fact, that is briefly mentioned -- instead it is a message of promise and hope.

I did NOT want this to end. This book is beautiful, and it is written through the eyes of someone who stands on the border of being American, and c
Jan 24, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fic
I suppose for a reader not yet familiar with China, much of this book content would be quite shocking and enlightening. I did not particularly feel that way, yet still there are many insights worth reading.

The main focus of the book, these factory girls, or we should rather call them migrants (since at first I mistook the word "factory girls" for workers on assembly lines only), are fascinating. Instead of knowing them through the usual presentation of statistics, numbers and graphs, plus some
Mar 01, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a novel one can spend hours contemplating. The development of factories in China is often compared to our own Industrial Revolution. It is similar yet different in many ways some of which are cultural, some of which are born of necessity. It's fascinating to follow the migrants who move into the cities from their rural origins.

The author discusses migration of young women from the countryside to the city where they seek jobs in the factories in Dongguan. She tells stories about several
Jun 23, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Factory Girls is a non-fiction book written by an Chinese-American journalist. It focuses on the stories of girls who immigrate from rural Chinese villages to factories in more urban areas of China. The girls work in shoe factories, purse factories, factories that make one specific plastic piece for a larger item, and a lot of other factories, but their stories are all the same — they left the village for better opportunities.

I’m glad that someone finally wrote a book like this. People in Americ
Aug 10, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Listened to this on audiobook while jogging. It was long and could've used some editing, I thought--particularly with the long sections detailing the author's ancestor's stories and history. I suppose some would find that part interesting or enlightening but I just thought it distracted from the main story in an already long book. The "main story" being the factory girls.

Now I thought the factory girl stories were really interesting. First of all, I had always pictured Chinese factory workers as
Angela Sun
I had really high hopes for this book. Being Chinese-American, I was searching for a well-researched nonfiction book that would provide cultural insight into my heritage. I thought that learning about a segment of the population in today's China was a good place to start.

Chang brings 6 years of research with this book, mainly by following 2 women ("factory girls") through their journey from the village to Dougguan, a manufacturing hub in China. However, she also adds in stories from her own jou
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Leslie T. Chang lived in China for a decade as a correspondent for the Wall Street Journal, specializing in stories that explored how socioeconomic change is transforming institutions and individuals. She has also written for National Geographic. Factory Girls is her first book.

A graduate of Harvard University with a degree in American History and Literature, Chang has also worked as a journalist

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