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Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother

by Amy Chua

Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother by Amy Chua X
Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother by Amy Chua
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  • First Published:
    Jan 2011, 256 pages

    Dec 2011, 256 pages


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There are currently 27 reader reviews for Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother
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Power Reviewer
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’ academically, technologically, and musically but put it down to longer school hours and Saturday classes in the Asian world.

Battle Hymn Of The Tiger Mother is the true story of a Chinese Mom raising her two Chinese/American daughters in the Chinese parenting way. The level of respect, obedience, altruism, and integrity that is expected from the child(ren) is almost mind-numbing! An immensely enjoyable book that had me pulled in from the first page where Ms. Chua lists some things that Chinese mothers would NEVER EVER allow their Chinese children to do. I understood completely the comparisons and the clash of cultures and the bluntness and almost arrogant and insulting way these children are raised in.

In the end, who is the better parent? Well, that is for each of you to decide after you’ve read this amazing, humbling, and brutally honest story. I’d highly recommend this book to any one, I read it in one sitting. It mesmerized me and I really GOT IT as I'm sure many of you will too!
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. While reading the book, I completely empathized with Sophia and Lulu. Why did I have to miss school field trips so that I could play the piano? Why were my friends rewarded for a B when my mother was asking me why I missed the one question preventing me from getting a perfect score? Even while empathizing with Chua’s daughters, however, I completely understood and agreed with Amy Chua’s parenting methods. Her book made me look back onto my childhood and despite the fact that I resented so much of what my mother made me do at the time, I am completely indebted to her now and appreciate her persistence and stamina.

Chua’s parental practices, which might sound terribly harsh to a Westerner, represent something totally different in the Asian cultural context. The truth is, the world is a harsh place, and Chua, like my parents and countless others, is preparing her kids with “tough love.” My mother often asked me, “Do you think it’s easy to be hard on you? I would love to be the parent who just plays with you all day. If you succeed and do well in the world, who does it benefit? Me? No, it’s you.” My mother’s tenacity in learning my coursework with me, memorizing my piano pieces, and guiding me through every step of the way has made me endlessly grateful to her. I know that I worked hard, but like Chua, my mother worked even harder and this can only be understood as a sign of their love for their children.

I am so glad that Chua has written a book that truthfully portrays the experience of growing up with Asian or what Chua dubs as “Chinese” parents. All of my Asian friends appreciate the sacrifices their parents have made for them, whether it is working round the clock in a 7-Eleven to fund their kids’ college educations, shadowing their children’s educational careers, or sacrificing their own professional careers to chauffeur their kids between school and extracurricular activities. Although many may have resented this parental attention at times, in the end, they have all appreciated the dedication of their parents and rather than cutting ties as soon as they turn 18, they plan on supporting their parents in their future. Chua perfectly captures this cultural style of parenting, and she does so with humor. She knows that her parenting techniques sound harsh, and she makes fun of how extreme she can be at times. Yet in every page of the book, we can catch glimpses of her love for Sophia and Lulu. For example, her music practice instructions to her daughters are filled with inside jokes and pet names. Chua’s witty way of describing her trials with her daughters and her honest descriptions of her daughters’ searing criticisms of her share with the public a style of parenting, that she does not argue as being the best, but as a different one, nonetheless filled with unconditional love and desire for her children to succeed and be prepared for the world outside the safety of their home. I highly recommend this fascinatingly captivating book to all parents and their grown children; it’s a reminder that parental love comes in all forms.
Lynette M. (charlotte, NC)

Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother
I thoroughly enjoyed Amy Chua's book. I was, at turns, both amazed and horrified by her descriptions of her mothering techniques. I found the insight into the Chinese way of parenthood to be fascinating but not sure it is something I could adopt or agree with for my own children. Her style of writing was very honest, humorous and engaging and I think this would make a terrific book club choice. I would be fascinated to hear her husband's perspective on some of the same events. I highly recommend this book.
Power Reviewer
Maggie R. (Canoga Park, CA)

I'm speechless
Five stars for well written and fascinating book - but a bit like watching a train wreck. No! You didn't say that! You didn't do that! Will look forward to the daughters' memoirs.
MaryEllen K. (Albany, NY)

Extreme Parenting
This book provided a fascinating insider's look at the Chinese parenting style, as related by Amy Chua. I had always believed that I myself used an authoritative parenting style; however, in comparison to this Tiger mother, I look permissive! I personally feel that at times, she was far too demanding of her daughters Sophia and Lulu - and yet, I can hardly argue with the results she achieved. Aside from the girls' extraordinary academic and musical accomplishments, from all accounts they are also polite, interesting, and well spoken young women. It occurs to me that there is far more to the "Chinese versus western parenting" than meets the eye. At the surface level, it appears to be about controlling versus permissive. However, I translated it in my mind to INVOLVED versus apathetic. No matter how domineering or controlling Amy Chua was in her parenting style, the level of her involvement in her children's lives was incredible. I think any child, whether they realize it or not, would rather have an involved parent, than one who was disengaged and uninterested.
Susan S. (Lafayette, CA)

Not at all what I expected
Wow! This was definitely not what I expected, but definitely fascinating, and not like any other parenting memoir I have ever seen. From the way the book started I was expecting self-deprecating humor; what I got instead was a story of what the author refers to as Chinese-style parenting that was so harsh and restrictive that to me it bordered on child abuse. I kept wondering - does the author realize what she sounds like? By the end it's pretty clear that for the most part at least, she does, since we end up hearing about where her techniques failed as well as where they succeeded. I was undecided about how to rate this, until I realized that any possible downgrading of it by me would have been a critique of her parenting choices, as opposed to a critique of the book itself. The book is well-written, unusual, easy to read style-wise, and boy! does it pack a punch! It would provoke some extremely lively book group discussions.
Shirley D. (Amherst, MA)

Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother
"Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother" was a delightful read, a charming story. The heart of it was a vivid picture of the conflict of child rearing – the Chinese way as opposed to the Western way. As a former teacher, I would say "yes!" to some of the Chinese values and "no" to the laxity as shown of the American easy "whatever" attitude. Then again, I would find myself disagreeing with the strictures of the Chinese mother but agreeing that there is a lack of discipline in American households.

Amy Chua presented an excellent picture of the differences, not only in the methods of education, but also in the final results. I hope there can be a meeting place between these two before the educational standing of the US will fall even further below its already low spot on the world's graph of educational standing.
Marsha S. (Nags Head, NC)

Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother
I was mesmerized by this true-life account of Amy Chua's approach to child-rearing, and the resulting affect on her children, family and friends. She approached parenting as a Chinese mother, with a fierce and unwavering certainty that the harsh, strict discipline and insistence on obedience and hard work is the superior way to raise children. I particularly enjoyed the descriptions of her reinforcement of the children's music lessons and the resulting accomplishments. Because of the jarring differences between Eastern and Western styles of parenting, I had to keep reminding myself that this is actually a true story and not a work of fiction. I think the book will appeal to anyone who has struggled with the challenges of raising a child and wondered about the effectiveness of their own approach to parenting. Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother is well-written, brutally honest, amusing, infuriating, and entertaining - I couldn't put it down!

Beyond the Book:
  The Tiger Mother Media-Storm

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