Browse Reading Guides


Reading Group Guide

  1. Book ImageForeign Babes in Beijing: Behind the Scenes of a New China

    Rachel DeWoskin

    “For a real insider’s look at life in modern China, readers should turn to Rachel DeWoskin.”—Sophie Beach, The Economist

Discussion Questions

  1. How did being American shape Rachel's experiences in China? How might things have been different if she had been Asian, African, or European?
  2. How do Rachel DeWoskin's experiences on-screen compare to those off-screen? What do you gain from the similarities and/or differences?
  3. Why are the reactions to Jiexi so varied?
  4. What are the different stereotypes/fantasies of what it means to be American, and what it means to be Chinese—particularly for women? How have these stereotypes/fantasies been shaped? How do the individuals in the book both contradict and exemplify these stereotypes? Are these stereotypes/fantasies positive in any way? Have they ever been an inspiration for you? Why might Anna want Rachel to meet Khalid in a restaurant that serves western food?
  5. What is the role of the media in Foreign Babes in Beijing? How does entertainment play an increasingly important role in cultural discourse?
  6. What does the author's attention to trying to understand and speak the Chinese language add to the story? If she didn't make this effort, what would be lost?
  7. The individuals in Foreign Babes in Beijing have a complicated relationship with their respective countries of origin. How do you feel about your country of origin? Does your relationship to it alter when you leave it? How so?
  8. What moments in the narrative were most familiar to you if you've ever travelled abroad?
  9. What is good about being an "outsider"? What is bad about it?

About Rachel DeWoskin

Rachel DeWoskin was a soap-opera star and a consultant in Beijing for five years. She now divides her time between New York City and Beijing, teaches poetry, and writes Chinese rap.

Books by Rachel DeWoskin

  1. Book CoverForeign Babes in Beijing: Behind the Scenes of a New China

    “For a real insider’s look at life in modern China, readers should turn to Rachel DeWoskin.”—Sophie Beach, The EconomistMore