Foreign Babes in Beijing: Behind the Scenes of a New China

Foreign Babes in Beijing Behind the Scenes of a New China Determined to broaden her cultural horizons and live a fiery life twenty one year old Rachel DeWoskin hops on a plane to Beijing to work for an American PR firm based in the busy capital Before she k

  • Title: Foreign Babes in Beijing: Behind the Scenes of a New China
  • Author: Rachel DeWoskin
  • ISBN: 9780393328592
  • Page: 470
  • Format: Paperback
  • Determined to broaden her cultural horizons and live a fiery life, twenty one year old Rachel DeWoskin hops on a plane to Beijing to work for an American PR firm based in the busy capital Before she knows it, she is not just exploring Chinese culture but also creating it as the sexy, aggressive, fearless Jiexi, the starring femme fatale in a wildly successful Chinese soDetermined to broaden her cultural horizons and live a fiery life, twenty one year old Rachel DeWoskin hops on a plane to Beijing to work for an American PR firm based in the busy capital Before she knows it, she is not just exploring Chinese culture but also creating it as the sexy, aggressive, fearless Jiexi, the starring femme fatale in a wildly successful Chinese soap opera Experiencing the cultural clashes in real life while performing a fictional version onscreen, DeWoskin forms a group of friends with whom she witnesses the vast changes sweeping through China as the country pursues the new maxim, to get rich is glorious In only a few years, China s capital is transformed With considerable cultural and linguistic resources The New Yorker , DeWoskin captures Beijing at this pivotal juncture in her intelligent, funny memoir People , and readers will feel lucky to have sharp eyed, yet sisterly, DeWoskin sitting in the driver s seat Elle.

    One thought on “Foreign Babes in Beijing: Behind the Scenes of a New China”

    1. Don't let the title and the cover fool you, because this book is not as salacious as it sounds. (Aside: This was the first book I put on hold at my library, and when the librarian handed it to me, she was all, "Woohoo, look at those fishnets! I thought it said 'Foreign Babies' but I guess not." She thought I was some kind of pervert. While that may be true, she did not have evidence of it in her hand at the time.) This is the true story of the author, who went to Beijing in 1995 to work for a PR [...]

    2. So this girl graduates college and goes to China to work for an American PR firm, but also gets cast in a cheezy Chinese sitcom (same title as the book) about slutty American chicks and how badly they long for Chinese guys. It's watched by like 40 million people. I'd give the book 5 stars but she doesn't string out the sitcom storyline long enough. Her cultural reflections and stories about Chinese friends are great and illuminating, but they can't compare (in my eyes) to the stories about the s [...]

    3. As memoirs go, this story of a recent Columbia grad who ends up starring as a Western hussy in China's most popular soap opera is a fascinating one. I learned a lot about what modern day life in China is like from this book. It was particlarly shocking for me to read that some people there don't keep journals out of fear what they write might be used against them by the government. Still, the tone did get a little academic for me at times and I wish the author had included more of her own person [...]

    4. When I travel, I like to bring a book with me that would be considered "light reading." I picked up FOREIGN BABES IN BEIJING because it was described as a "Sex and the City" set in China on the dust jacket. The author moves to Beijing to work in PR and suddenly finds herself on a Chinese soap opera called "Foreign Babes in Beijing." Sounds fun, right?As I started to read it on the airplane, I was suddenly transported back to my freshman foreign governments class in college. I wasn't expecting a [...]

    5. I liked this book a lot. China in the 1990s was a special place and Rachel DeWoskin had the good luck to be involved with a very interesting group of people. I'm married to a Chinese musician, and many of his tales of that period of time are similar to what DeWoskin talks about in her book. For that alone, and the fact that I somewhat know the feeling of being a "foreign babe" in China, I found it easy to relate to her book. China memoirs aren't that uncommon, but I was excited to come across on [...]

    6. I'm glad that I didn't judge this book by its cover, although I cannot deny that the shapely pair of fish-netted legs did catch my attention. Truth is this book is far less sensually provocative than it is evocative of expatriate life in the heart of an awakening economic powerhouse. Rachel DeWoskin's memoir about her adventures as a 20-something college grad working in Beijing for an American PR firm paints a vivid portrait of life as a foreigner in China during the 1990s. Rachel is not just yo [...]

    7. When I first saw the title of the book, Foreign Babes in Beijing, I didn’t know what to expect. Its cover was racy but facetious. I was confused about the title. Was it implying local Chinese women weren’t babes?The first few chapters cleared up the confusion. This non fiction book is about the author, Rachel, and her first few years as an expatriate in China. Foreign Babes in Beijing is actually the title of a Chinese soap opera she acted in.I had read and grown tired of the usual books I r [...]

    8. It looks like chick-lit but don't judge a book by it's cover. I'm absolutely loving this book, but I suspect it might be because I myself lived in Beijing for some years and can relate to a lot of what she is writing. I'm not sure someone who hasn't lived there would be as captured as I was so for that I give it four stars.Having arrived in China 10 years after Rachel I enjoyed reading her descriptions of the city as it was and getting an image of how it has transformed (and in many ways remaine [...]

    9. Really interesting memoir of a young American woman working in Beijing in the 1990s. I learned a great deal about China and how it has changed since the revolution (and since the 1990s). My only wish is that the title (which comes from the name of a Chinese soap opera in which the author acted) and the picture on the cover wasn't so tawdry - it makes the book sound like it's going to be so much less than it is; which is an insider's account on being an outsider in China, told with intelligence a [...]

    10. Stupid title, stupid cover, thoughtful engagement with China and her position as an outsider during the 90s.

    11. With a newly minted BA in English, Rachel DeWoskin moved to China in 1994. China was just beginning to open itself up to commerce with other countries, and foreigners living in China were still relatively uncommon. Although she had studied Chinese and traveled in China, she was looking for an intense, exotic experience. Boy, did she get it.The recurring theme is Rachel trying to figure out what the hell is going on. In spite of her studies and experience, she struggled to understand or speak wit [...]

    12. **Edited to say that I totally dropped this down to two stars. I've read/been reading solid three-star books since then, and realized how much more I disliked this one compared to them, so two stars is a truer reflection of how I felt about it.**This is purely in the "meh" category. I never really got who DeWoskin was throughout the thing, and found myself super bored - especially considering that the story should have been really interesting. I'm not sure how long after the events it was that s [...]

    13. I first heard of Rachel DeWoskin a few weeks ago, when I picked up her one of her works of fiction, "Big Girl Small", which I loved. I immediately looked up other books by DeWoskin and discovered that she had written a memoir about her time living in China in the mid-90's. The title of her memoir "Foreign Babes In Beijing" refers to the title of the very popular Chinese soap opera that DeWoskin found herself cast in as Jiexi, an all American girl and temptress to one of the married Chinese male [...]

    14. 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 e [...]

    15. So far, I think this book is interesting because I relate to many of the heroine's experiences; I've been living in Beijing for the past 5 months. However I'm not terribly swept away by the story; that may be because the book is more of an observation or diary, in my opinion. I am learning some new vocabulary from her - Chinese vocabulary. The night I met Cui Jian, I came home, took a shower, and opened up this book to read the section where she describes a character, Kate's infatuation for the [...]

    16. I found this book a tad difficult to finish. There were a few 'intriguing' parts however, most of it was similar to a history book, delving into historical aspects of China's history. I found these parts difficult to read, and tended to read through them quickly. I wasn't too keen on the biography chapters, which focused on specific individuals from Rachel's life whom she found interesting enough to write a whole chapter on. Needless to say, these chapters were a bit boring to read. I would have [...]

    17. An entertaining book about a young American woman's everyday life in China. It's interesting to read about Rachel's relations to people in her surroundings, for example her work colleagues (what's accepted to do, to say and what is not). She describes communication differences and difficulties, and often it's a funny read. The author also takes China's politics and history into account, and places situations in relation to certain events. In that way the book is a part, and a result, of a life s [...]

    18. There's is a lot of interesting information about China in this book, but it's not well structured and it's not clear what it's about. It advertises that it's about a young American woman who works in PR in Beijing and gets invited to star in a Chinese soap opera-style TV program, and the book begins with that theme. But it moves into other themes - politics, dating, etc. and loses steam.It would have been better if the author had written her entire book about one theme with the other interwoven [...]

    19. I loved this book. It was the perfect cure for the book hangover I had when I begged a group of friends for recommendations. Even though the author's experience takes place about 20 years prior to my own, her descriptions are SO relatable - even though she was in China and I'm in South Korea. Of course the political scene is quite different, but that's only touched on a few times in the book (mostly over the bombing of the Chinese embassy). She's honest and entertaining. "The meeting reminded me [...]

    20. This is a fascinating true story. Rachel DeWoskin moved to Beijing in 1994 and was cast in a Chinese TV drama shortly afterwards. She writes about her increasing understanding of China and what it means to be an American there during a period of rapid change, which is interesting enough. On top of this, she becomes a celebrity as the show airs, and finds herself surrounded by intrigued Beijingers. She deals with the "fish in a bowl" feeling of having the Chinese scrutinize her every move and ass [...]

    21. I found this book on the shelves of the One World Library Project and wasn't quite sure what to expect from the title. What a happy surprise! Turns out "Foreign Babes in Beijing" is the title of a popular sexy TV soap opera in China in which the author becomes an unexpected star, a "foreign babe", in the series. DeWoskin went to China for an adventure with only two years of college Mandarin under her belt and a job lined up working for an American PR firm. Her five years in Beijing in the 90s ca [...]

    22. On the Lonely Planet China recommended reading listThe upside was that the author's experience in China comes across as quite believable. Also, her writing was reasonably free of superlatives for a 20-something.The downside was that the plot wasn't very interesting aside from the cultural experiences.The best line of the book is during an argument between Rachael and some Chinese friends one day after the NATO bombing of the Chinese embassy in Belgrade, about whether the bombing was intentional [...]

    23. This was a good book, except that at points it got away from the Story by adding too many historical facts. That being said, if anyone wants to know what it's like to live in Bejing, they will be able to understand after reading this book.Just so you know, the name of the book is the name of a soap opera the author acted in, kind of as a fluke. She was in China working in marketing, and stumbled upon the opportunity to act. She is really good at being real and explaining the faults she had as an [...]

    24. DeWoskin is a thoroughly American college student with two years of college-level Mandarin and looking for a post-graduation PR job in the mid 1990s. Family friends arrange a job with a Chinese firm anxious to nab Americans, launching her into five years of living in a rapidly-transforming China, including being recruited to play an American-Chinese vixen (seducer of good filial character son) on one of china's first modern-style soap operas. Since the events of this book took place nearly 20 ye [...]

    25. This was my first voluntary non-fiction read. I happened onto it on a book rack at work. In the book, author Rachel Dewoskin recounts her time living in 20th century China, where she is hired to star in a popular Chinese soap opera while working at a P.R. firm in Beijing. It is filled with quirky anecdotes of cultural clashes and things lost in translation. Although Dewoskin is a mediocre writer at best, I enjoy the refreshing lack of political commentary, which infiltrates almost all Western bo [...]

    26. This is a memoir about an american girl who goes to live in beijing for five years after college. she works for a PR firm and also ends up acting in a chinese miniseries called foreign babes in beijing. this book starts out boring, then gets more interesting, and then boring again. i liked learning about the differences in culture, and all the expatriots that live over therei thought it would give me some more insight into the chinese culture than it has. overall a good, not great, book. Oh, i d [...]

    27. It was in interesting story of how China changed in the final decade of the twentieth century, especially coming from woman too. The way DeWoskin wrote somewhat reflected how I felt when living abroad (less problem with the language though!) Her style of writing humorous and full of trying to look on the bright side of things, despite being frustrated by many things that were so foreign to her. Of course in the end she had to just laugh them off.When she finally left, it was kind of a sad thing [...]

    28. I read this book in China on the way to Beijing and while I expected to hate any narrator who gets to travel to Asia right after college with a job all set up and then star on a soap watched by 600 million people, I ended up liking Rachel DeWooskin. She gets a little lofty trying to fit her friends and colleagues into metaphors for modernizing China, but her descriptions of cultural differences and all that is lost in translation are SPOT on. I laughed out loud so many times while reading this t [...]

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