Foreign Babes In Beijing

foreignbabesbeijing.jpgI just finished reading Rachel Dewoskin's Foreign Babes In Beijing, a memoir of the author's life in China's capital during the mid to late 90s. For any just coming to or arriving in China, the book is a great supplemental read to your standard collection of guidebooks; and for those of us that have been here a while, it offers enough relatable anecdotes and "way it was" stories to keep it interesting.

When I first picked up the book, I wrongly assumed that it was going to be a staunchly female perspective on life in China, working to show women that China is indeed open to their visits as well. I was quite wrong. Dewoskin gives a well-rounded, and well-researched peek into post-post reform China.

[read the entire review at The Lost Laowai blog

7 Responses

  1. i am trying to write a book also, i am going to think of the title first then let the content write itself, kinda like the Bible. Here are some ideas

    1. Damn it, i thought i was going to Japan!

    2. Is that kids butt hanging out?

    3. Blogs, pandas and propaganda.

    4. Wee u be me engrish chum?

    5. Middle Kingdom Mischief


  2. you thought you were going to japan, hek? then crash landed in china, huh. it happens to many. and then weird things start to happen, like blood-sucking robots, and polar bears, and baby’s butts. kinda like “Lost”. but with extra baby butts.

    may i borrow foreign babes book when you’re done with it? cheers! i have several japanese novels (yukio mishima, and shusaku endo) if anyone’s interested in trading.


  3. I'd like to add possible titles for my forthcoming memoirs:

    1) Things That Taste Of Chicken
    2) Strong Knees: A Squatter's Life In The New China
    3) I Come From A Country Called "Foreign"
    4) Middle Kingdom, Middle Way, Middle Finger

    @Steven: Far too few Kates in China for this to be Lost… though I wouldn't be surprised about seeing a polar bear. And you're welcome to FBiBJ, as there's no way to get around the "when you're done with it" bit – the first line of my post clears that up. I'd love access to any Japanese novels you've got.

  4. Thanks for this! I think the title just did not do it for me, but will put it on the read list now…

    I have a book in the works….The working title is: Confucius Slept Here….But, am seriously thinking about copyright infringing on your 4 titles…

    Best from GZ…


  5. Yeah, I’m certain that because of the title I would not have picked up this book had it not been left in my apartment by the previous resident. The author quickly explains the title in the first pages of the book, showing us readers that it was simply the grossly over-simplified and designed to attract title of a night-time soap. Through the course of the novel, the title actually begins to really summize the author’s experience, and indeed most of our experiences here in China.

  6. Gosh! Is everyone in China writing a book?

    On a side note, Rachel Dewoskin might be potentially partially responsible for my coming to China, as I met her on a book tour less than a year before I ever got the bug in my head to come to China. Had I known back then that not all cities in China were overflowing with hot actors, groundbreaking artists, and hardcore musicians, all looking to befriend and offer interesting gigs to any foreigner who walked into the nearest trendy bar, I might have reconsidered countries. *sigh!*

    Anyone know if Japan is exactly as depicted in Lost in Translation?

  7. I saw this book in Barnes and Noble before I came over, and thought about taking it home with me, but I already have so many books to read. Of the 30 I brought with me, I have read 38 pages of Narnia. But, now that you mention it, I will put the book on my list of “Please Read Me”, and hopefully get to it one day.

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