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Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother

Chua, Amy

(Book - 2011)
Average Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5.
Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother
Traces the rewards and pitfalls of a Chinese mother's exercise in extreme parenting, describing the exacting standards applied to grades, music lessons, and avoidance of Western cultural practices.
Publisher: New York : Penguin Press, 2011
ISBN: 1594202842
Branch Call Number: 306.8743 C559b
HQ759 .C59 2011
Characteristics: 237 p. : ill. ; 25 cm


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Jan 02, 2015
  • normf3 rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

I rather enjoyed this book. It makes one think about his or her own parenting methods. Clearly, Chua takes it to an unhealthy extreme. But she makes good points in questioning if things like the kids self esteem movement is harmful. I think Asian parents prepare their kids for survival, rather than self-actualization. If everyone had similar success with such pressure, then such kids wouldn't stand out. Chua's strategy ends up backfiring somewhat with her second daughter. A happy medium is probably best.

Sep 09, 2014
  • eliseweatherby rated this: 0.5 stars out of 5.

I mistakenly thought this was a parenting book its not, I initially picked it up because so many modern parenting books have quoted “tiger mom” in a negative way I was intrigued. We are an international student host family so I did enjoy some of the west vs. east comparisons but all the negative publicity was totally justified the book itself doesn’t read cohesively, it’s not a story or a teaching book with morals, values, facts and proof. It’s simply this one woman’s confessional journal, I though all the seemingly random story telling was going to lead to a conclusion but about half way through I realized it wasn’t and the book was essentially a point less story, I finished it anyways and it was point less, it didn’t even have an ending the chapters just became less engaging as the writer fizzled out and eventually the words just stopped. Hmm very similar to a Chinese movie if you’ve ever watched one the credits just kind of appear at some point, there’s not really an end like we have in western films. All in all a disappointing read.

I read this book because I thought my Western parents were perhaps a bit too lax about my schooling. I was curious to find out about an alternative way, perhaps for raising my own children.
What I found from this book is that Tiger Parenting is not just another way of raising children. Instead it is part of a soulless paradigm of competitive consumerist capitalism. The author is sadly so deeply trapped within her own axiomatic beliefs that what really matters in life is material success, that she can imagine no other way of living (simplicity, harmony, frugality, modesty, etc.).
This constant striving seems like no way to live, as happiness is always hours of practice in some imagined future. A memorable moment in the book was when the Tiger Mother was dissatisfied to realized that though her daughter was playing in Carnegie hall, her daughter was not playing in the largest of the three Carnegie halls, and that more work and practicing were needed.
After reading this, I no longer think that my Western parents should have pushed me more in school/extra-curriculars, instead of letting me play with friends and have lots of unstructured free-time as I did. Whenever I think back about this book I feel nausea.

Apr 09, 2014
  • andreas1111 rated this: 3 stars out of 5.

First of all saying that this book is about "Chinese parenting" is misleading. This is at most a book about upper middle class Chinese American parenting.

The book will annoy many people, but it is also pretty funny in places and oddly compelling. Overall I enjoyed the read.

I wouldn't look to this book for practical advice. But still, leaving aside the over the top craziness of Ms Chua there are a few good points here. One is that it is OK (and good) to hold your kids to high expectations. The other is that expertise takes hard work and dedication.

Some of the annoying things. (1) The assumption that the only worthy extra-curricular activities are violin and piano, (2) Pervasive stereotyping of Western and Chinese parenting, (3) Taking too much credit for the "success" of her children, (4) Bad math - Asians in North America do often excel in school but simple math suggest that not all of them are #1 in the class.

Sep 05, 2013
  • nuttybrown rated this: 3 stars out of 5.

It was a fast read. I don't know if I could live in a household with such a strong and driven person. Another thing that bothered me was that her husband let her get away with so much bullying. She believed that she loved her girls and was doing what was best for them. But I believe she did it for herself. Lulu will probably never touch a violin again. Heaven help her if she had a child with a learning disability.

Apr 12, 2013
  • weirdduck88 rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

It's too bad people don't see this book for what it's worth but get caught up in disagreeing with because of their own beliefs. Chua's writing is accessible, clear, nostalgic, very honest, and humourous. Although there were times where I thought she was going too far, there was enough awareness, either through herself or through one of her family members, to at least make her actions understandable.

This book isn't for everyone, but it does reveal a lot about Chinese parenting. Keep an open mind.

Mar 18, 2013
  • andrea_gregus rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

Loved this book. Easy to ready. Interesting to hear about this mother raising her kids.

When I suggest this book to others, the response I get back 99% of the time is something along the lines of "oh I'm not reading that, that women is a neurotic child abuser". But that's not what Chua's story is really about, it's not a defence of her child rearing methods. This is a story of a mother wanting the best for her daughters and learning that there isn't just one fail proof way to ensure successful productive lives for her kids. You will be abhorred at times, but also left cheering for Lulu (her rebellious younger daughter) and heart warmed by Chua's personal stories. A definite "don't knock it before you try it".

Aug 03, 2012
  • richardhe rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

I was surprisingly entertained. I don't care about children or parenting but Chua tells the story of her family very captivatingly. The book is well-written except the ending. Felt as if Chua was tired of writing this and wanted to get it over with.

People below have been criticizing this book as if it was justifying Chua's style of parenting. That is not the message. It is simply a memoir in which Chua often mocks herself and is quite humourous. If at all, this book clarifies flaws in both "Western" and "Chinese" parenting and it definitely does not dictate that one is more evil than the other.

Jun 23, 2012
  • bobgrant rated this: 1 stars out of 5.

This book has precious little to do with the narrator being a mother. This is a woman who cannot control herself so controls others. She spends a lot of time railing at her daughters about x or y, yelling and screaming and generally making everyone miserable because she feels inadequate. She doesn't actually know her kids all that well: her youngest daughter actually hacks off her own hair in a silent plea for understanding and even that doesn't work. The Chinese child-rearing vs the Western (and apparently entirely evil) child-rearing theme is a smoke screen for Chua's insecurity and self-involvement. Chua insists she is making her kids tough and the phrases "the best" and "the first" come up over and over. What she does not address is the what will happen if one is not the best or first at something; the sky may not fall, nor civization grind to a halt. Chua is unfortunately so obsessed with the outer trappings of life that she does not give herself or her kids the chance to look past them to see what might actually matter. Does being first count if no one else is keeping score?

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4789ce thinks this title is suitable for All Ages

Aug 03, 2012
  • richardhe rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

richardhe thinks this title is suitable for 10 years and over

Oct 01, 2011
  • marishkajuko rated this: 0.5 stars out of 5.

marishkajuko thinks this title is suitable for 13 years and over

MARK SIANO thinks this title is suitable for 10 years and over


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