Book Review - Foreign Babes in Beijing

Foreign Babes in Beijing: Behind the Scenes of a New ChinaForeign Babes in Beijing: Behind the Scenes of a New China by Rachel DeWoskin
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This was our book club selection this month and the it came highly touted. It was a very interesting story.

Rachel DeWoskin moves to Beijing after graduating college in the mid=90s and lands a job at a PR company. She also wins a role on a Chinese TV show as one of two foreign girls who steal the hearts of two Chinese brothers. The show is ultimately watched by 600 million people. We saw some of it online and it's pretty much the cheesiest thing ever.

DeWoskin also talks about two other critical events that happened during her tenure in China. The first is the bombing of the Chinese embassy in Belgrade by NATO and the ensuing anti-American emotions it caused. The second is the relationships she and her friend have with two Chinese friends that ends in tragic fashion.

What I came away with was a real sense of alienness. The Chinese don't understand the Americans and Europeans and seem to disrespect those people and cultures while trying to keep their culture to themselves. It was like, "you don't understand our ways so you're stupid but we won't explain our ways to you so you can know why we think you're stupid". I've no doubt with globalization this is less true today. De Woskin even talked about how much China changed in the few years she was there.

Ultimately, I enjoyed the book but I finished it feeling like I wanted more. I couldn't really articulate what that "more" was. One of our book club members said if felt like there was a heavy focus on the beginning adventures with the TV show then skipped to the end with the bombing/love stories. She wanted more of the details in between. Perhaps that's what I was looking for, too.

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