Factory Girl is a story of a group of young Uyghur girls, one of many ethnic minorities living in China, that will pull at your heartstrings.
Roshen is sixteen and looking forward to becoming a teacher and marrying her sweetheart. All that changes when she is forced by the Chinese government to become a factory girl to serve her country for one year. Her family risks losing their farm if she doesn’t go. The location of the factory is very far from her home in a totally different part of the country.
Factory Girl is a familiar story. The girls are isolated, abused, underfed and overworked. The setting is different, but this is a sweatshop story. It's unfair, and makes the reader feel indignant. Their treatment is cruel, they are offered no protection, and have no contact with the outside world. The threat of sexual advances is always real.
Roshen exhibits growth and matures throughout the story, but the other girls’ characterizations are indistinct. A note at the end clarifying what is fiction and nonfiction would be helpful. I'd like to know the "real story." I wondered whether Factory Girl was set in the present time or if it's historical. It is hard to tell because of the cultural differences. The ending is a bit abrupt and convenient, however, this story of survival and resilience will appeal to younger readers who are interested.
Published by Clarion, January 10, 2017
ARC obtained from School Library Connection Magazine
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