- Paperback: 256 pages
- Publisher: Penguin Books; Reprint edition (December 27, 2011)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 9780143120582
- ISBN-13: 978-0143120582
- ASIN: 0143120581
- Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.6 x 8.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 1,185 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #14,522 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother Reprint Edition
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From Publishers Weekly
Chua (Day of Empire) imparts the secret behind the stereotypical Asian child's phenomenal success: the Chinese mother. Chua promotes what has traditionally worked very well in raising children: strict, Old World, uncompromising values--and the parents don't have to be Chinese. What they are, however, are different from what she sees as indulgent and permissive Western parents: stressing academic performance above all, never accepting a mediocre grade, insisting on drilling and practice, and instilling respect for authority. Chua and her Jewish husband (both are professors at Yale Law) raised two girls, and her account of their formative years achieving amazing success in school and music performance proves both a model and a cautionary tale. Sophia, the eldest, was dutiful and diligent, leapfrogging over her peers in academics and as a Suzuki piano student; Lulu was also gifted, but defiant, who excelled at the violin but eventually balked at her mother's pushing. Chua's efforts "not to raise a soft, entitled child" will strike American readers as a little scary--removing her children from school for extra practice, public shaming and insults, equating Western parenting with failure--but the results, she claims somewhat glibly in this frank, unapologetic report card, "were hard to quarrel with." (Jan.)
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Bookmarks Magazine
Most critics agreed that Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother is an entertaining read—lively and humorous, written with the intent to shock. More controversial is Chua’s stereotyping of Chinese and Western cultures, not to mention her authoritarian parenting methods. Critics judged the book largely by asking the following questions: Should self-esteem come before accomplishment, or accomplishment before self-esteem? If the latter, should it be achieved by threats and constant monitoring? Chua’s teenage daughters are undeniably accomplished, but at what emotional cost? While some reviewers found that Chua’s technique borders on abuse and her writing was, at best, self-serving, others were impressed by her parenting results and opined that the West could learn a few things from this remarkably driven Chinese American mother. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top customer reviews
Her original idea was to show how Chinese parents are better at raising kids than Western ones. Based on that alone, I wouldn’t have picked it up-it seemed that insulting! But my husband insisted that I’d love it, and I’m glad he did. Because the book evolved into a story of self-discovery, which is what I love reading about.
Please don’t be affronted by her initial premise. She comes to the same conclusion that I have with regards to parenting: ALL children –East vs. West - want the same thing from their mother: LOVE. Which means, there is no right or wrong way to parent, as long as love is in the equation.
So, parent on!
Amy Chua's book, "Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother", is a memoir. It is about the relationship between a mother and her two young children, highlighting the author's struggles as well as her joys. But underlying this story is the contrast in parenting styles - the way of the "Chinese mother" and the "Western" way. Of course, it is the contrasting parenting styles that received the greatest attention in the media.
About Parenting Styles:
Before reading the book, I wondered: If the book was written by a white American mother and how she raised Olympic gold medalists, would the media have vilified her as they did Chua? Or would they describe her as a committed, focused, and devoted parent? Perhaps the book reviews would report the story as a mother's dedication to her daughters, rather than the tale of a "Tiger Mom". After all, success requires hard work and sacrifice, both from the child and the parent. Maybe the reason for the media's attention was because of Chua's view that the Chinese parenting style is superior to the Western style. Thus, reviewers saw the book as a competition between China and the West, I thought, rather than an honest examination of the actual merits (and demerits) of parenting styles. Well... after reading the book, I came to the conclusion that Chua is a bit of a nut job.
For example, Chua says that a Western parent's idea of being strict is to make their children practice an instrument for 30 minutes per day or an "hour at most". "[But] for a Chinese mother, the first hour is the easy part. It's hours two and three that get tough." Just in case you think she's exaggerating or joking for emotional effect, she talks about pushing her daughters to practice their musical instruments five to six hours per day. She simply wants them to be the best, and is even willing to travel 2 hours (one-way) for music instructions, pay thousands of dollars for a few days' worth of instructions, and even require practice sessions during vacations. Keep in mind that one daughter plays the piano, so she has to find a piano to borrow/rent while on vacation. Now, if she were trying to produce professional musicians, perhaps this would be understandable. However, she never states that this is her goal. She just wants her daughters to be #1. But for what reason? At times, even Chua seems to question her own approach to parenting.
Nonetheless, despite her fanaticism, there are a lot of positive things to say about this book.
First, the reader must keep in mind that this is a memoir. It was not written as a how-to book on raising successful children. As a memoir, it is a well-written, enjoyable book to read. Chua reveals a lot about herself, opening up to the reader about her personal mistakes, as well as her fanatical approach to parenting and her family devotion. I also found the book quite humorous. For example, on page 8, she talks about how academically advanced Sophia (oldest daughter) became because of "Chinese" parenting: "By the time Sophia was three, she was reading Sartre, doing simple set theory, and could write one hundred Chinese characters." Just in case you think Chua is merely bragging about Sophia, she's quick to note that her husband's view was quite different: "[Sophia] recognized the words `No Exit', could draw two overlapping circles, and [was] okay maybe on the Chinese characters."
Second, the book provides interesting insight into the wide cultural gap between Asian and Western parenting attitudes, philosophies, and styles. At the end of the book, Chua even mentions how her book's reception in Asia was very different than in America or Europe. Predictably, she was viewed as an austere, extreme parent in the U.S. In Europe, discussions focused on why Americans were so upset by the book; reviewers hypothesized it was because of "American insecurity about rising China." In contrast, the Japanese would ask, "Why do Western parents think it's a bad thing to ask their child to aim for first place? I just don't understand." And in China, her book was marketed as "a story about the importance of giving kids more fun and freedom" - the exact opposite of its perception in America.
Third, describing Chua's approach to parenting as "extreme" is probably an understatement to most American readers. However, there is little doubt that her approach produced two successful children - i.e. success defined as visible achievement, such as medals, honors, prestige, and recognition. Both of her children have earned numerous awards; one even performed at Carnegie Hall. In addition, her approach instilled a very strong work ethic in her children and a true sense of accomplishment - in contrast to today's awards where "everyone gets a medal" just for participating. These character traits are valuable well into adulthood, traits that seem missing from today's typical teenagers and young adults (at least from my own observations).
Fourth, many reviewers either missed or dismissed Chua's personal transformation in the book. In chapter 1, Chua is the quintessential tiger mom. By chapter 34, the tiger has been tamed by her young daughter, Lulu, who exudes the stereotypical Western values of independence and marching to her own drum beat. In the end, Chua permits Lulu to quit the violin and choose her own interests (tennis). But we learn that Lulu's work ethic, which she learned from years of dedication to the violin, has now carried over into her tennis practice sessions. This says a lot about the value of her parenting style, even if one does not take it to the level that she advocates. That is, structure, discipline, routine, and perseverance through hardships have their merits.
Overall, this book surprised me. It was an enjoyable read - entertaining, humorous, thought provoking, and even controversial. I don't agree with everything about her parenting approach, but no one should dismiss the entirety of her parenting style without reading the entire book. Moreover, readers should keep in mind that this is primarily a memoir, and not a how-to book about parenting. In short, I liked this book and would recommend it.
I read this a few years ago, and since then the "The Smartest Kids in the World" has been published. That focusses on both sides of Ms. Chua's dilemma -- over-demanding Asian standards, and under-rigorous U.S. patterns. Perhaps Ms. Chua will get a bit more positive attention, as the problems with U.S. education come into focus.