01 March 2011

"Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother" by Amy Chua

Battle Hymn of the Tiger MotherBattle Hymn of the Tiger Mother by Amy Chua

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Genre: memoir, parenting
On my TBR list?: no

Summary, from Goodreads:

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.

I'm guessing that most of you reading this post have already read or at least heard about the Wall Street Journal article that Amy Chua wrote entitled Why Chinese Mothers Are Superior. It outlined a strict method of parenting that includes pushing your children to excel, picking out their hobbies for them, and not letting them participate in anything that wouldn't eventually result in some sort of medal or award. In this review I will be talking more about the style and format of the book; I'm saving my opinions of Chua's parenting style for a post on my other blog.

The article was excerpted from the book and it covers Chua's main points without the repetitiveness. There were so many anecdotes that followed the same formula: Chua would push her kids to practice their instruments, they would complain, she would yell, they would throw tantrums, but then in the end the audition/recital/performance would turn out brilliantly and the kids would get glowing compliments. I listened to part of this book on audio and it was read by the author, which made these anecdotes sound even more boastful than they did on paper. Also, there were sentences that I'm pretty sure were meant to be sarcastic or funny (like a comment about never dating drummers) but Chua's reading was so stilted that she sounded she was being serious. Her reading style loosened up and became more natural further on, thankfully.

Honestly, I think that if you read the WSJ article (which I did before reading this), then you don't really need to read this book. I read it because many of the podcasts I listen to did episodes discussing it, but I think you could jump into a conversation about Chua's parenting method without spending the extra time to wade through her entire memoir.

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