Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother by Amy Chua

Yale law professor Amy Chua’s memoir, Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother has stirred up a lot of controversy to put it mildly.  It has been all over the media, particularly in a recent Wall Street Journal article that included an excerpt from the book.  I downloaded it from my library’s Kindle e-book selection because I was curious about the book itself. Despite disagreeing with the way Chua raised her girls on a personal level, I really enjoyed reading it.

In the Afterward section of the book, Chua wrote that Battle Hymn was meant to be a parody of herself.  Her writing style and humorous take on the way she interacted with her daughters was what really sucked me in.

The term “tiger mother” refers to the extremely strict way of raising kids.  In general children of tiger mothers, or tiger dads for that matter, are not allowed to do anything social that would interfere with their educational pursuits.

Anything below an “A” or anything less than first place in a competition is not tolerated.  Chua’s daughters bore the brunt of her extreme parenting through their music.  Her oldest plays the piano, and her youngest played the violin.  Each daughter reacts in completely different ways.  In fact, Chua’s youngest daughter was very instrumental in getting Chua to take a fresh look at the way she handled things.  She may be stubborn, but her daughter is very much her equal.

The only major aspect of the book that I didn’t like was the constant black and white comparisons between Chinese and Western styles of parenting.  However, Chua did mention that her references to these were meant to be “loose” ones.  They were a bit one sided, and every parenting style is unique.  Both strict and lenient styles have their own pluses and minuses.

As expected the reviews are all across the board.  Whether you love it or hate it, Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother is great for a debate or discussion.

Homer Merino

“Much criticism is out in the media about how this book focuses on a type of parenting that should definitely not be used for today’s children, and that is exactly not what the book is trying to convey. The book is about a mother understanding her own demanding values for her daughters and of them trying to find themselves throughout to where it works out in the end. I do believe that for those that criticize the book are the ones that have not read it entirely or seem to read incomplete excerpts. ”