Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother

Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother

Book - 2011
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An awe-inspiring, often hilarious, and unerringly honest story of one mother's exercise in extreme parenting, revealing the rewards-and the costs-of raising her children the Chinese way.

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.

Here are some things Amy Chua would never allow her daughters to do:

? have a playdate

? be in a school play

? complain about not being in a school play

? not be the #1 student in every subject except gym and drama

? play any instrument other than the piano or violin

? not play the piano or violin

The truth is Lulu and Sophia would never have had time for a playdate. They were too busy practicing their instruments (two to three hours a day and double sessions on the weekend) and perfecting their Mandarin.

Of course no one is perfect, including Chua herself. Witness this scene:

"According to Sophia, here are three things I actually said to her at the piano as I supervised her practicing:

1. Oh my God, you're just getting worse and worse.

2. I'm going to count to three, then I want musicality.

3. If the next time's not PERFECT, I'm going to take all your stuffed animals and burn them!"

But Chua demands as much of herself as she does of her daughters. And in her sacrifices-the exacting attention spent studying her daughters' performances, the office hours lost shuttling the girls to lessons-the depth of her love for her children becomes clear. Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother is an eye-opening exploration of the differences in Eastern and Western parenting- and the lessons parents and children everywhere teach one another.
Publisher: New York : Penguin Press, 2011
ISBN: 9781594202841
1594202842
Call Number: B C47083a
Characteristics: 235 p. : ill. ; 25 cm

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CL_BookClub
Jul 06, 2015

Our book club had very strong feelings about the parenting stradegies described in this book. A great discussion emerged, as some things that occur in the book were shocking for some members to read. A great book to intigrate with a book club that predominantly reads fiction.

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StarGladiator
Mar 13, 2015

Should be entitled, the Manhattan Institute Book of Child Rearing [which probably sounds a bit better than Satan's Spawn ?] - - but should you really wish to read books on superlative childhood education, one would heartily recommend, Science Fair Season, by Judy Dutton, and Spare Parts, by Joshua Davis - - outstanding books to the max! [And for the official response to Chua, read: Tiger Babies Strike Back, by Kim Wong Keltner.]

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normf3
Jan 02, 2015

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.

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eliseweatherby
Sep 09, 2014

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.

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ehallvan
May 22, 2014

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.

andreas1111 Apr 09, 2014

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.

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nuttybrown
Sep 05, 2013

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.

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weirdduck88
Apr 12, 2013

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.

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andrea_gregus
Mar 18, 2013

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

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Vleung58
Dec 26, 2012

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".

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MARK SIANO
Jan 29, 2011

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