Lee Anne's Reviews > Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother

Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother by Amy Chua
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Jan 21, 2011

liked it
bookshelves: borrowed-not-bought
Read in January, 2011

Anyone who is Asian (which I am not), or read an Amy Tan novel (which I have), will recognize the overbearing, hyper-critical, driven, martyred Chinese mother. Amy Chua strikes a bargain with her Jewish husband: if she "allows" him to raise their two daughters in the Jewish faith, he will "allow" her to raise them in the Chinese way. That means each must play a musical instrument, and practice said instrument several hours every day (even on weekends and vacations); each must earn straight A's (even an A- is a failure); no sleepovers, or playdates. Their first child, Sophia, is the perfect Chinese daughter, obedient and compliant. Their second daughter, Lulu, is not. Complications ensue.

This book is generating a LOT of controversy, a good deal of it, it seems, from people who have heard about the book, but not read it. I was surprised at how funny it was; Chua, while belittling and berating her daughters in order to get them to perform their very best, appears to be self-aware, at least some of the time. She admits her failings with Lulu, and although *SPOILER ALERT* eventually letting her choose her own path (to a degree), she still chafes at the lack of control.

You can't argue with the results Asian mothers produce; honestly, it's a style to admire in a lot of ways. I quickly realized that there is no way I could do this with my own child, however. I'm just too lazy--I'd much rather sit curled up in the corner of the sofa, reading a book, than drilling my daughter on math problems or music scales. I'm happy to settle for being a "better," more involved parent than my parents were, and hope that my daughter will be a better parent than I, someday.
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message 1: by Steve (new)

Steve Thanks for the review. I was wondering what you would think of the book, the mix of cultures and parenting styles.

On a different note: I'm jealous of how many books you seem to read, shows you seem to watch all while raising Charlotte. It seems like your days must be a bit longer than mine!

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