Saturday, May 21, 2011

Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother by Amy Chua

About the Book

Witty, entertaining and provocative, this is a unique and important memoir that will transform your perspective of parenting forever.
A lot of people wonder how Chinese parents raise such stereotypically successful kids. They wonder what Chinese parents do to produce so many math whizzes and music prodigies, what it’s like inside the family, and whether they could do it too. Well, I can tell them, because I’ve done it…
Amy Chua’s daughters, Sophia and Louisa (Lulu) were polite, interesting and helpful, they had perfect school marks and exceptional musical abilities. The Chinese-parenting model certainly seemed to produce results. But what happens when you do not tolerate disobedience and are confronted by a screaming child who would sooner freeze outside in the cold than be forced to play the piano?

Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother is a story about a mother, two daughters, and two dogs. It was supposed to be a story of how Chinese parents are better at raising kids than Western ones. But instead, it’s about a bitter clash of cultures, a fleeting taste of glory, and how you can be humbled by a thirteen-year-old.

Read an Excerpt here

How great is this book’s cover treatment? Simple, Clean and Bright. It stands out on the shelf and definitely on my list of Things to Read. I am not a mother, nor do I have the urge to start learning parenting skills just yet (yes Dad, you can wipe your brow). I picked this book up because 1) Its cover and 2) The New York Times gave such an amazing review, I just had to read it.

The wonder of this book lies purely in Amy’s writing. She displays her family out for you to see and do with what you please (well, make assumptions, pass judgement & marvel at). You can see Amy loves her family. She sets before you situations of any family, but the catch is - she is raising her children the ‘Chinese way’. The Chinese way? Yup! The musical-talented-mathematician-hard-woring-self-disciplined-genius baby-maker model of parenting. A no-nonsense way to allowing your children to be who they want to and discover their talents, according to Amy Chua that is.

Amy is married to Jed Rubenfield thus making this family a hybrid of religion and nationality – This has to be the start of some quirky parenting techniques? Her two daughters, Sophia and Louisa (or endearingly called Lulu) are the subjects in this parenting technique Amy puts forth in Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother. Sophia is the hard worker and Lulu the fighter. Amy writes about her experiences with each daughter Sophia is an obedient, intelligent, shy, quiet concert pianist and Lulu the match that ignites the fire in the family fighting. Lulu is the polar opposite of Sophia; confident, strong willed and knows what she wants - A perfect mix for this book.

With Sophia the Chinese technique is a perfect fit for her personality but when Lulu starts rebelling and is openly unhappy Amy is forced to rethink everything about raising her children the “Chinese way”.

I have to admit Amy’s methods seem a tad extreme and, in some parts, flawed. I didn’t say it – she did. That is what is so great about this story – everything is a learning curve. Amy did what she, the Chinese mother, could do for her children and accepted the hardships and cuddles that came with it. Hard lessons are learnt in this book; lessons that encourage Western parents to accept only mediocre from their kids because of the fear of damaging them. Amy also points that it sometimes doesn’t work, but only once out of twice.

I loved this book, filled with wit, laughter, tradition, excruciating fights (I am all too familiar with) and family – a truly amazing read for the ever-welcomed Easter holiday.


BookGeek said...

I've wanted to read this book because I need to find out for myself, once and for all, if all the hooplah around it is worthwhile. Looks like you enjoyed it, so I still need to give it a shot!

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