Factory Girl by Josanne La Valley



Goodreads Summary:

In order to save her family’s farm, Roshen, sixteen, must leave her rural home to work in a factory in the south of China. There she finds arduous and degrading conditions and contempt for her minority (Uyghur) background. Sustained by her bond with other Uyghur girls, Roshen is resolved to endure all to help her family and ultimately her people. A workplace survival story, this gritty, poignant account focuses on a courageous teen and illuminates the value—and cost—of freedom.

My Rating:4/5 stars

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book in exchange for a honest review

My thoughts:


Factory Girl follows Roshen, an Uyghur girl who must go to work at a factory in the city. Along with  her fellow Uyghur friends, she faces prejudice and injustice. Factory girl was a very interesting read and one that I enjoyed thoroughly. It provides a perspective that I haven’t often seen and discusses things that should be in more books. I did find that it wasn’t as mature as it could be, and often times came off as a middle grade novel, despite the fact that there was some serious topics discussed.Which definitely isn’t a bad thing, but considering the subject matter, it was an odd voice.While I have no actual problems with the book, I feel as though this book would have been better if it had been an #ownvoices book. The author is white,  and  while it said on the back of the book that she wanted to write this book after going to China, I feel as though this book would have been more authentic had it come from someone who had a more personal stake in the story. Obviously you can’t control what people write about, nor can you force someone to write a book, but I am 100% certain that this book would have been better had it written by someone who understood the topic at a whole other level.Again this is just a personal observation, and if we focus on the novel itself, it was very good.


I think the best thing about this book are the characters. I loved all of the Uyghur girls, and their friendship  and everything associated with them. Roshen  was an interesting character, but I do find that there could’ve been more development with her. I would have liked to explore more of her poems and that side of her, as it’s not really discussed a lot in the book. I also found that her relationship with this boy back home was kind of based off of anything, and would’ve liked to at least some background behind their friendship and love.



2 thoughts on “Factory Girl by Josanne La Valley

  1. I’ve never heard of this book before, but I’ll always love a book that has great characters. I completely get what you mean when you said the book may have been better if the author had experienced it – I think that’s a problem when white authors write marginalized experiences. Nuance and authenticity is lost somewhere, even if the book is ‘good’.

    Maybe I’ll look out for a book that explores the experience of factory working by an author who has experienced it themselves.

    Still, thanks for the informative review!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: January Wrap-Up | The Book Thief Without Words

Leave a Reply to cw @ readthinkponder Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s