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Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother (2011)

by Amy Chua

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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1,6961299,873 (3.54)76
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.

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Showing 1-5 of 127 (next | show all)
Ok, I seriously did not know how to rate this book so it's getting three stars.

In case you've been in a media blackout, this book is a memoir about the parenting choices made by one Chinese American mother. Amy has two daughters, and both are successful in their own right. The older daughter is a concert pianist. The younger daughter is a serious violinist and tennis player. Amy Chua details the parenting approach she used to develop these highly accomplished children.

Let's just say that there are no means this woman won't use to gratify her own ego. Her tools include berating the kids, shaming the kids, punishing the kids, and essentially browbeating them into doing what she wants when she wants it.

In the media, the kids have been quite loyal, but let's be real. What are they going to say? They have to live with this person for a few more years . . .and she's pretty much shown that if she wants to make life difficult, she can and she will.

Now, others might say simply that Amy is holding her daughters to a higher standard. And look how successful they are. And they are. But I would argue that in the case of the older daughter, she was talented and driven and obedient and compliant from the get go. And the younger daughter is spirited and competitive by nature. Amy assumes she got the best out of these girls, and perhaps she did. But I think she had good genes by and large. The rest of the life script of these daughters remains to be played out, and I think it would be quite amusing if one of them happens to write a "Mommy Dearest" style expose in the future.

So why give it three stars at all?

Well, it is honest is most regards. Amy reveals exactly what she does and how she does it. She obviously didn't care that it made her look like a psychopath.

It's engaging. Like a car crash where you can't look away.

What's truly bad? Well, first of all, I don't buy for a single second that Amy didn't raise her daughters in this fashion because she thinks it is really good for them. She rationalizes her behavior that way, but I seriously think this is all about her. Her children reflect on HER. She mentions numerous times the number of accolades her daughters have gotten from friends, family, and total strangers - - it's like a giant ego trip. Look how I raised these girls. Look how accomplished they are. Look. Look. Look. And look some more. They are like performing little princesses.

What really let this book down was the ending? The younger daughter started to rebel, and in the end, you can really see how she is starting to hate her mother for her endless pressure and criticisms. But the ending is sort of pat as Amy just ends up bragging about the younger child's newest accomplishments in the sport of tennis. Sort of like, wellllll, tennis isn't the violin or the piano, but you know, it's still really really great . . .

I do think her daughters will end up successful because they totally have the intellect to be so, and I think they are inherently motivated. But in my mind, their happy childhoods were sacrificed to Chua's narcissism. I would like to hear one reader say at the end of the book - - boy, I wish Amy Chua was my mother. ( )
  Anita_Pomerantz | Mar 23, 2023 |
Liked a lot! Fun to read. You definitely don't have to be a fan of her parenting style to enjoy the book, and Chua ends up being a lot more of a sympathetic and thoughtful character than you might expect from reading the cover of the book. ( )
  steve02476 | Jan 3, 2023 |
Quite an eye-opening book. A view not only into the author's life, but an aspect of Chinese culture. It was interesting to learn that a "Chinese mother" isn't necessarily Chinese, nor a mother; it's a construct. It will certainly shock people, and indeed has. The destination is as important as the journey. ( )
  Zcorbain | Sep 5, 2022 |

Just ignore the hype. The book is nothing like I imagined like it would be.

The beginning chapters reminded me more of a kitten than a tiger mother. I actually felt for and LIKED the vilified Tiger Mother. It made me wonder what I could have been if I was pushed instead of just allowed to wallow in front of the television during my childhood.

In the middle, the children, Sophia and Lulu took center stage. It was easy to cheer for Sophia. When Lulu at a young age started counting to eight like "4, 11, 5, 60, 21, 0, 9, 8", I loved her.

But as the story reached it's denouement, tiger mother left me a with a distaste. Why would someone ever want to bring their story - this story - to the public? In terms of entertainment and producing something of value of society yes ... but the "Chinese" way of raising is quite private and she completely contradicted herself on this part.

Any way, if you are Asian, you should read this. If you're a parent of a child that you ever wanted your child to do something that they didn't want to, you should read this.

( )
  wellington299 | Feb 19, 2022 |
Not quite as radical as I thought it would be (it might be to "Western" moms); if a tiger mom went up against my Caribbean mom, let's just say that tiger would be reduced to kitten mom. lol. ( )
  stemreadsbookclub | Jul 26, 2021 |
Showing 1-5 of 127 (next | show all)
...Amy Chua's unexceptional memoir about her dedication to raising children who excel...
added by atbradley | editThe Guardian, Terri Apter (Jan 29, 2011)
“There are all these new books out there portraying Asian mothers as scheming, callous, overdriven people indifferent to their kids’ true interests,” Amy Chua writes. She ought to know, because hers is the big one: “Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother,” a diabolically well-packaged, highly readable screed ostensibly about the art of obsessive parenting. In truth, Ms. Chua’s memoir is about one little narcissist’s book-length search for happiness. And for all its quotable outbursts from Mama Grisly (the nickname was inevitable), it will gratify the same people who made a hit out of the granola-hearted “Eat, Pray, Love.”
Parenting and child psychology take up most of the self-help book genre, stressing the point that every parent must develop their own creative and suitable ways to deal with their child.

Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother stands out from its genre contemporaries, as author Amy Chua delves right into the techniques she used to raise her own genius daughters, who are very lucky. Why? Because they're Chinese! Yes, the author aims at educating the unfortunate rest of the world on how to raise their kids to be more like the genius race that is the Chinese.

Chua believes that the Chinese race is superior because of the mothers’ tough parenting techniques: for example, the Chinese mother considers an A- grade a bad grade, never compliments her kids in public, and only allows them to participate in activities from which they’ll win a trophy or medal; and it must be gold.

The controversy that this book has caused has been mainly down to how the author compares the know-it-all 'Chinese mother' to the typical good-for-nothing 'Western mother'. That being said, the book itself is very captivating, divided into stories and anecdotes that are both educating and suspenseful, with organized profiles on her family. Her controversial theory, however, may jar with parents who do not fall in line with the author’s ideals.

It’s important to remember that everyone has their own parenting methods. So, if you come out with just one thing from this book, it may be that if having no social life, being forced into hobbies, and being under constant pressure to score the best grades is what it takes for a kid to be genius, then perhaps it’s not worth it after all.

It’s easier to read the book as an autobiography than as a self-help book; that way you can enjoy the mother’s thoughts on her daughters’ upbringing and the methods that she used. That way, the book won’t ruffle your feathers or come across as condescending to those who might be in the firing line of the straight-talking Chua.

» Add other authors (6 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Amy Chuaprimary authorall editionscalculated
Laroche, NicoleDesignersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Schaden, BarbaraÜbersetzersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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For Sophia and Louisa

And for Katrin
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A lot of people wonder how Chinese parents raise such stereotypically successful kids.
What Chinese parents understand is that nothing is fun until you're good at it.
I can't tell you how many Asian kids I've met who, while acknowledging how oppressively strict and brutally demanding their parents were, happily describe themselves as devoted to their parents and unbelievably grateful to them, seemingly without a trace of bitterness or resentment.

I'm not really sure why this is. Maybe it's brainwashing. Or maybe it's Stockholm syndrome. But here's one thing I'm sure of: Western children are definitely no happier than Chinese ones.
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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.

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Book description

1: The Chinese mother -- Sophia -- Louisa -- The Chuas -- On generational decline -- The virtuous circle -- Tiger luck -- Lulu's instrument -- The violin -- Teeth marks and bubbles -- "The little white donkey" -- The cadenza

2: Coco -- London, Athens, Barcelona, Bombay -- Popo -- The birthday card -- Caravan to Chautauqua -- The swimming hole -- How you get to Carnegie Hall -- How you get to Carnegie Hall, part 2 -- The debut and the audition -- Blowout in Budapest

3: Pushkin -- Rebellion -- Darkness -- Rebellion, part 2 -- Katrin -- The sack of rice -- Despair -- "Hebrew melody" -- Red square -- The symbol -- Going West -- The ending.
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