Leftover in China: The Women Shaping the World’s Next Superpower

Roseann Lake. Norton, $26.95 (288p) ISBN 978-0-393-25463-1
Lake, an American journalist who lived in China for five years, explores dating and marriage from the perspective of single Chinese women in their mid- to late 20s who are well-educated and financially successful. Known as sheng nü (literally, leftover women), their unmarried status is due in part to shifting demographics that resulted from four decades under the one-child policy. In the past, couples living in urban areas were more likely than those in rural areas to raise daughters, while rural families counted on sons to tend their farms (and were therefore more likely to undergo sex-selective abortions). Consequently, there are more 20-something women than men, and the women tend to have had more resources growing up and have more education and experience in the globalized economy. In addition to supplying plenty of sociological data, Lake includes the personal stories of women she met while working in China, such as Zhang Mei, who considers hiring a fake boyfriend to take home for the holidays, and Ivy, a woman who prefers to date married men. Lake takes a refreshingly optimistic approach to this subject, discussing the ways that Chinese culture can be recalibrated to better encourage and appreciate these young women. The result is an invigorating account of China’s rapidly changing culture, told from the perspective a particularly unique segment of the population. (Feb.)
Reviewed on: 12/11/2017
Release date: 02/01/2018
Genre: Nonfiction
Compact Disc - 978-1-68441-030-9
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