"This is a story about a mother, two daughters, and two dogs. This was supposed to be a story of how Chinese parents are better at raising kids than Western ones. But instead, it's about a bitter clash of cultures, a fleeting taste of glory, and how I was humbled by a thirteen-year-old." - Amy Chua
An awe-inspiring, often hilarious, and unerringly honest story of one mother's exercise in extreme parenting, revealing the rewards - and the costs - of raising her children the Chinese way.
All decent parents want to do what's best for their children. What Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother reveals is that the Chinese just have a totally different idea of how to do that. Western parents try to respect their children's individuality, encouraging them to pursue their true passions and providing a nurturing environment. The Chinese believe that the best way to protect your children is by preparing them for the future and arming them with skills, strong work habits, and inner confidence. Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother chronicles Chua's iron-willed decision to raise her daughters, Sophia and Lulu, her way - the Chinese way - and the remarkable results her choice inspires.
Here are some things Amy Chua would never allow her daughters to do:
have a playdate
be in a school play
complain about not being in a school play
not be the #1 student in every subject except gym and drama
play any instrument other than the piano or violin
not play the piano or violin
The truth is Lulu and Sophia would never have had time for a playdate. They were too busy practicing their instruments (two to three hours a day and double sessions on the weekend) and perfecting their Mandarin.
Of course no one is perfect, including Chua herself. Witness this scene:
"According to Sophia, here are three things I actually said to her at the piano as I supervised her practicing:
Oh my God, you're just getting worse and worse.
I'm going to count to three, then I want musicality.
If the next time's not PERFECT, I'm going to take all your stuffed animals and burn them!"
But Chua demands as much of herself as she does of her daughters. And in her sacrifices-the exacting attention spent studying her daughters' performances, the office hours lost shuttling the girls to lessons-the depth of her love for her children becomes clear. Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother is an eye-opening exploration of the differences in Eastern and Western parenting - and the lessons parents and children everywhere teach one another.
Amy Chua's controversial book has inspired fervent responses from BookBrowse readers. Withal, the majority of reviewers agree it is worth a read - 16 out of 23 people rate it 4 or 5 stars:
I was, at turns, both amazed and horrified by the descriptions of her mothering techniques. Her style of writing was humorous and engaging, and I think this would make a terrific book club choice. I would be fascinated to hear her husband's perspective (Lynette M). Personally, I do not agree with Chua's harsh practices (including calling her children "garbage" and threatening to burn all their toys). Chua's descriptions of her daughters' punishing music practice schedules made me cringe (Gwendolyn D). Chua's ability to admit her flaws turns this book into a wonderful meditation on what it means to do one's best (Eileen P). (Reviewed by BookBrowse First Impression Reviewers).
The Washington Post - Elizabeth Chang
Readers will alternately gasp at and empathize with Chua's struggles and aspirations, all the while enjoying her writing, which, like her kid-rearing philosophy, is brisk, lively and no-holds-barred. This memoir raises intriguing, sometimes uncomfortable questions about love, pride, ambition, achievement and self-worth that will resonate among success-obsessed parents…
The New York Times - Janet Maslin
…[A] diabolically well-packaged, highly readable screed…
Chua's efforts 'not to raise a soft, entitled child' will strike American readers as a little scary... but the results, she claims somewhat glibly in this frank, unapologetic report card, "were hard to quarrel with."
Chua's stated intent is to present the differences between Western and Chinese parenting styles... ironically, this may be read as a cautionary tale that asks just what price should be paid for achievement.
Tom Brokaw Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother is the book we've all been waiting for – a candid, provocative, poignant and vicarious journey through the Chinese-American family culture. It will leave you breathless with its bluntness and emotion. Amy Chua is a Tiger Mother, a greatly gifted law professor and, ultimately, a honest, loving woman with a lot to say.
Recent Reader Reviews
Rated of 5
by mimi Boring I found the book rather boring, slow and so repetitive. I did not find any part of it funny. The way she chose to raise her children is not totally Asian, other cultures have similar parenting styles. I love reading and love to learn, there was... Read More
Rated of 5
by Louise Jolly Chinese Parenting or Western Parenting? Chinese parenting or Western parenting – which one is better? I never really gave much thought in the past about any specific differences between the two styles. I did, however realize that a lot of Asian children seem to be more ‘gifted’... Read More
Rated of 5
by H. Lee A Scintillating Read: Meaningful, Humorous and Honest This book really spoke to me, and I know that it will touch countless others. Like Chua’s daughters, I fall under the category of “model minority.” I grew up playing hours of piano, finessing my Korean, and striving for no less than A’s in school.... Read More
Rated of 5
by Kendra R. (New Orleans, LA) Enjoyable; discussion-raising The book was engaging with short pointed chapters and unexpectedly (and perhaps unintentionally) humorous. I would have liked to have heard more from her husband's point of view. I didn't like how extreme her "Chinese parenting" seemed as a... Read More
Rated of 5
by Shelby Why bother? Coming from the neighborhood where Amy Chua lives I had hopes of enjoying this book. Not so. The writing is too simple at best and although the topic of Eastern vs Western ways of raising children would make for an interesting discussion I found... Read More
Rated of 5
by Vicky S. (Torrance, CA) Keeping An Open Mind I was at times fascinated and appalled by Amy's recounting or her parenting wondering at times if she suffered from OCD. I also had to constantly keep an open mind and not condemn her culturally different parenting. Book clubs could feast on this... Read More
In addition to her book Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother, Amy Chua's Wall Street Journal article entitled, "Why Chinese Mothers Are Superior" (which is excerpted from Tiger Mother but does not fully represent the message of the book) has created quite a stir in the media, and has inspired hundreds of opinionated articles and blog postings around the world. (Of note: Chua denies titling the article herself.) In it, among other things, she explains the benefits of what she considers "Chinese mothering" and highlights three major differences between the Chinese and Western parental mind-sets:
First, I've noticed that Western parents are extremely anxious about their children's self-esteem. They worry about how their children will feel if they fail at something, and they constantly try to reassure their children about how good they are notwithstanding a mediocre performance on a test or at a recital... Second, Chinese parents believe that their kids owe them everything... the understanding is that Chinese children must spend their lives...
Looks past the "scare" stories to those that enlighten parents and enable them to empower girls. Offers a comprehensive road map to the many emotional and physical challenges girls ages six to sixteen face in today's challenging world.
The Pulitzer Prize-winning author "an immensely gifted writer and a magical prose stylist" (Michiko Kakutani, New York Times)offers his first major work of nonfiction, an autobiographical narrative as inventive, beautiful, and powerful as his acclaimed, award-winning fiction.
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