Tiger Babies Strike Back: How I Was Raised by a Tiger Mom but Could Not Be Turned to the Dark Side
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Tiger Babies Strike Back: How I Was Raised by a Tiger Mom but Could Not Be Turned to the Dark Side

2.75 of 5 stars 2.75  ·  rating details  ·  136 ratings  ·  41 reviews
Kim Wong Keltner is a Tiger Baby all grown up with a daughter of her own . . . but is she a Tiger Mother? Heck, no. This book describes—in hilarious, and sometimes heartbreaking, detail—exactly why not.

A battle hymn for every non-Tiger offspring of Tiger parents, Tiger Babies Strike Back examines why generations of kids have been made to feel inferior, isolated, suffocated...more
Paperback, 272 pages
Published April 30th 2013 by William Morrow Paperbacks
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Oh, I was so eager to get this book! Mommy wars fascinate me, and the Tiger Mother controversy was a particularly fierce-fought battle. Kim Wong Keltner has A LOT to say about the whole thing, and her perspective (raised by a Tiger Mother, raising her own small daughter very differently) was bound to be intriguing.

And it is. But I think I would have been more interested if she had figured out where she wanted to go with this book before publishing it. The short chapters often seem written by dif...more
Original review found here
A couple of years ago I reviewed Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother by Amy Chua (You can read my review here). There was (and still is) much controversy surrounding this book, but I found it a fascinating memoir of someone who was doing the best she knew how with her children. I did not agree with every choice she made as a mother, but I learned a lot about myself and, I believe, became a better mother because of her book. And maybe not in the way you might think. I mostly...more
loved this book. It did drag a little bit here and there, but the message was very clear to me. My husband is Chinese and the conflict between Tiger parenting and Western parenting is something we deal with a lot.

Keltner's writing style may not appeal to everyone. It is folksy, almost conversational at times. But what she write about Chinese parenting is spot on. I laughed when she talked about how strung out she feels after visiting her family (this is my husband to a t) and how Chinese famili...more
Emily Markulis
Not sure why this book is rated so low. I personally loved it. Skimming the reviews, I actually disagree that it was overly angry and vindictive - and that's a reason I liked it so much. I was pleasantly surprised that, while she describes what she feels was harmful about her "tiger parent" upbringing, she humanizes rather than demonizes her mother herself. I found the insights to be fascinating as a Caucasian-America. While I cannot relate to her Chinese culture specifically, there are certain...more
Penny Luo
Based on the title, I thought this book was a response to Amy Chua's "Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mom" but it was more so a memoir that the author talks about her struggles and reflections on her experience with her family growing up as a Chinese-American. Yes, the organization of the book might be a little messy but I thought the overall message she wants to bring to her readers in parenting was clear. Parenting with affectionate love and care over the stereotypical "tiger mom" way provides better...more
Well, I really wanted to give this book a chance. As a "response" of sorts to Amy Chua's "Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother" (which I also hated) I thought we'd get something that would discuss the problems of Chua's work, a breaking of stereotypes (or at least better explanations!) and hopefully a better book.

The book talks about Keltner's childhood, through college and beyond. In between various things that reflect the cultural divide between her Chinese parents and her upbringing in San Francis...more
A series of personal essays on parenting, unconditional love, growing up American with immigrant Asian parents and more. If you are looking for a 'mommy dearest' memoir (which the title and subtitle promise), you will not find much here to interest you. Keltner recalls bits and pieces of her own Tiger Mother's behavior but nothing on the scale of the Amy Chua Tiger Mother method. However, Keltner's bottom line is that children need to know that their parents love them, pure and simple. That 'pus...more
I read and understood everything! A strict culture filters down inexorably though it may dissipate somewhat on the way down. I am anxious to see what others think about Kim's memoir, those who weren't raised within such a strict culture. There is a lot in the book for general readers, to understand the interior of a traditional though what could seem a somewhat stereotypical Chinese family.
i liked hearing her perspective and am glad she is providing a public counter to amy chua. but the connections to chinese history in america felt forced and awkward, and i just don't love her style.
If I had to take a stab at it, I'd guess that the underlying thematic message of this book pertains to the idea that change is possible if you want it badly enough, and that you don't have to keep living out a pattern or a life filled with unhappiness, unfulfilled dreams and seeking the approval of others (i.e. parents) just because it's been written in cultural stone for what seems like an eternity. Good theme - inspiring and yet also elusive for many of us to actually apply to our day-to-day l...more
Danielle T
Warning, this review turned into a personal essay, whoops.

Loved it, but the (main) title is incredibly misleading in my opinion- from the bits and pieces I heard on the web, I thought perhaps this was a rebuttal to the 'Tiger parenting' meme floating around. Instead, Keltner gives us essays that collectively make up a memoir, a collage between parts of her childhood and raising her own daughter, and Chinese American identity. I think some of the other reviewers were expecting the former and wer...more
I thought this book would be a fast and interesting read - there was so much hype about Amy Chua's Tiger Mother book (which I never read), and I've worked in Asia, so I was interested to read from someone who was a bit more removed from the emphasis on achievement and success. However - it took me forever to get through it. Parts were funny, parts were sweet, parts were insightful (Keltner has perspectives on her mother as an adult that she couldn't see as a child) - and parts just went on and o...more
Kim Wong Keltner disjointedly and often humorously describes what it was/is like for her to be a "Tiger Baby," a second generation Chinese-American raised by an overwhelming, practical, and emotionless "Tiger Mom." The author is blatantly honest and self-deprecating at times and filled her book with anecdotes that confirms the harsh stereotypes of a Tiger Mom while also making light of the subject.

However, there is no "striking back." If you think this book is a direct challenge to Battle Hymn...more
I think I enjoyed the tiger mother book more than this one. I felt like the author's voice and tone was not consistent throughout the book. I couldn't put down the tiger mother book; I had a hard time picking this one up. I did appreciate the subject matter, though, and loved that she was finding her own way to be a parent. I think she was honest and fair, recognizing that her mom had shortcomings due to the way she herself was raised. I liked that she shared some of the Chinese American history...more
Hilary H
This book needs to be taken with a huge bowl of salt. I couldn't finish past 5 chapters since I was feeling for the mother the entire time. Moreover, she is throwing every asian family in the same category by her generalizations. (E.g. grandparents want concrete poured instead of grass, yet in my experience asian families have bountiful gardens that cover every inch of yard space; whose experience is that of a "Tiger Baby"?) The title should be changed to "Tiger Baby Strikes Back" so that the au...more
I did not find this book to be a fast read. The writing is vividly descriptive as the author, Kim, tells her story of growing up in San Fransisco as a second generation Chinese daughter of a "tiger mom". Her mother's parenting style was one that pushed her children to succeed by comparing them negatively to other people's children, and one that lacked physical affection. Kim felt unloved and decided not to raise her daughter the way she was raised. Eventually, she moved away from San Fransisco i...more
Ya better get the log outta your own eye before you criticize your neighbor's eye for havin' a speck in it. Innit?

The first section is repetitive. And besides being angry -- that's OK -- its antagonism is puerile and way too obvious. Very often, the author pauses momentarily from her heavings-of-ire, says something nice about Chinese parenting, or about her own family. Then shifts back into gear to continue on with her journey of getting even.

Then there is the matter of grammar. Not looking for...more
Rachel C.
A rambling reply to Amy Chua, with a pinch of Margaret Cho.

Some of the things Keltner talked about did strike a chord, though. Not so much the Tiger Mom stuff - because my mom was a tabby cat - but the stuff about growing up with a completely different set of cultural norms than your parents and wanting things that are sort of incomprehensible to them.
I have NEVER stop reading a book once I start it! This is a first for me! I only could read up to chapter 5 and had to stop.

I am Asian American so I can totally relate to the author with her upbringing and how her parents and family has treated her. Even though I only read 5 chapters into it, the book was kinda of negative from the start. As I progressed further I find myself unable to continue because I don't want to revisit the past and emotions.

I was raised by a Tiger Dad and Mom! I have a da...more
Gigi Meyer
This book was therapeutic for a tiger baby such as myself in that I didn't feel alone and could commiserate with the author. I don't give it a higher rating because I don't think it was that thought-provoking or inspirational to warrant reading again.
I enjoyed this book for the most part. It´s an autobiographical accounts of a second generation Chinese American who recounts her childhood traumas and implications as well as fallout from the 'Chinese' way, she is incredibly irreverent and snarky in her observations and retelling. The tone of the book pretty much remains the same and often jumps even if it follows a general timeline.

I also enjoyed her conversational style and was a fast read. It is by no means a serious study of the consequenc...more
At first, the casual style and sometimes incredibly flippant tone of this author's writing turned me off and made me even a little angry at how ungrateful she sounded. Yet as someone who has had a childhood partly similar to the author's, and partly similar to the childhood the author describes she wants for her daughter, I began to feel more sympathetic towards Keltner's outlook. The first few chapters are more difficult to get through, but I ultimately came away from this book feeling satisfie...more
I could only get through chapter 3 . . . (this author was a student of a long time friend of my family so she gave me the book to read after finding out how much I liked Amy Chua's book). It was just so hard for me to get into this book with an open mind, she sounded like a spoiled American child who wants to blame all their problems on their parents, you don't need a Tiger Mother to do that! I've accused my parents of loving and supporting me too much, so there you go! The parents never win, it...more
Cathy Mcewen
I really enjoyed this book. Her style( casual and slangy) was a little off putting, but I ended up liking the content enough to persist in reading it. I have not thought much about being an Asian person in the United States, so this was an interesting view into that world. I also enjoyed the San Francisco background of the book.
Finished this in a couple of sittings. I've read the first novel by this author, but this is her first published non fiction book. I read the Tiger Mom (Battle Hymn of a Tiger Mother) book after all the hype when it came out, so I was interested in this, but hoped for more. The writing seemed a bit disjointed. I did find it humorous, and enjoyed the pop culture references, and it had some good thinking points, but overall, to me it seemed like it was rushed to the presses to garner sales on the...more
Betsy Hover
I was delighted to receive this book from Goodreads Giveaways!

This author Kim Wong Keltner, exposes the underbelly of Tiger-Parenting, the high expectation put on Chinese-American children to excel and to be overachievers due to the demands of their parents.
Children are a reflection of their parents and this takes on a whole new meaning for Tiger Parents.

I would highly recommend this book for anyone that is interested in learning and reading about other cultures.
Couldn't finish it. One woman's rant about everything Chinese. She thought she was witty and clever. She was crass and at times vulgar. A couple of interesting perspectives, but not worth the read.
I don't think Tiger Moms beget Tiger Moms. It seems that Keltner does what most people do when they have kids - that is, try to compensate for their own parents' perceived mistakes. How many times did I think growing up "When I have kids I will NEVER...". A I grow older, it becomes easier to forgive all those injustices when I'm busy making so many mistakes myself.
Melissa B
I won this book through goodreads firstreads.
This was interesting, but a bit disjointed.
The background on the Asian traditions and methods of upbringing is great background, but Kim's mom sounds a lot like my own non-Asian mother. There were some funny anecdotes, some heartbreaking anecdotes, and so many were like my own memories.
I never finished this book because I ran out of time. It is a humorous look at a sad situation.
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