Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother

Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother by Amy Chua

On the library stacks: Adult Biography
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I was originally scared that reading this book would upset me. But our book club decided we would read it this month so we would really have something to talk about. I read this book in one sitting. It's fast-paced, surprisingly funny and thought-provoking.

Amy Chua is a professor of law at Yale. She and her husband Jed have two daughters named Sophia and Lulu. Amy and Jed decided early on that Amy would raise the children in the Chinese way, and that the kids would be raised Jewish like Jed.

Amy explains the differences between the Chinese mother and the Western mother. Yes, she forced her kids to do hours of piano and violin practice. They had to be #1 in most of their classes at school. But she has good reasons for this. Amy believes that self-esteem for kids comes by making them do hard things. They will feel good about themselves after their dedication pays off and they accomplish something difficult. And Amy stands by her kids every step of the way--through every practice session and rehearsal, driving them wherever they need to be, and all while holding down a full-time job. I honestly don't know when this woman sleeps.

While I question some of Amy's methods, I think her principles are quite valid. However, the one weakness in this book for me is that it doesn't really have an ending. She began writing the book when Lulu rebels, trying to make sense of it all. And really, how Lulu turns out and the backlash from her mother's strict parenting is still to be determined. Still, there is much to think about here and I can't wait to discuss it.

Check out: Amy's website & Sophia's New York Post article in defense of her mother

Also reviewed by: Planet Books ~ In the Pages... ~ BestBooks ~ Bloggin' 'bout Books ~ Your link here?
Source: Library


bermudaonion said...

I bought this book but haven't read it yet. I do think maybe Americans have become too soft on kids, so maybe we could learn something from her.

alisonwonderland said...

I read this one a few months ago (but haven't yet posted a review). I ended up liking it quite a bit - but I hadn't expected to, especially after I read the WSJ article. I decided that I do have a bit of a Chinese Tiger Mother in me. :)

Corinne said...

I heard the author interviewed on NPR, seriously interesting stuff.

Starr said...

Hi Tricia. I heard the NPR interview, too. Interesting lady with some stand-out children. I sometimes think that sort of parenting is exactly what my eldest child needs -- and I can imagine the fireworks that would result from instituting it. But at the same time, I know how such a structure could both benefit & traumatize #2. (Since you know my kids, I'm guessing you can infer what I'm thinking.) Do you think you'll be implementing any of these techniques with your crew?

Holly (2 Kids and Tired) said...

My husband and I really want to read this one. I'm glad you liked it. I also appreciate that you shared how it ends and that there really isn't closure. That's good to know ahead of time.
2 Kids and Tired Books