Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Book Review -- "Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother"

"Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother" by Amy Chua
1 out of 5 Stars

I'm quite glad I've never met Amy Chua, and if she met me, I'm sure the feeling would be mutual.  I picked this book up while passing the child-rearing section of the book store.  I should have left it there.

The book is about the "secret" behind Asian (in this instance, Chinese) children's stereotypical success.  I have two half-Chinese stepsons, have lived in Korea and Japan, so I wasn't entirely unacquainted with how family dynamics in Asia usually work.  My sons did not get raised the "Chinese Way", as Chua calls it.  According to her, therefore, my sons should be degenerates and vapid automatons who only watch TV and eat junk food.  Happy to report that they both have Ph.D's, one in Physics and one in Molecular Plant Biology. 

So there, Amy Chua.

I was horrified at how Chua talks to her daughters, pushing them, forcing in many ways, to play piano and violin, respectively.   The things her daughters aren't allowed to do because they're "stupid" (i.e., sleep-overs) are things that I wonder if they'll one day regret.  They both are phenomenal musicians, but at what cost?  So many times the kids rebel, only to get shouted down.  I didn't find that funny, OR endearing.

Of course, how to raise your child is a polarizing subject, and I didn't expect to 100% agree with everything in this book.  I also didn't expect to have a visceral dislike for it, either.

Not recommended.

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Lori Anderson creates jewelry for her web site, Lori Anderson Designs, and wrote the blog An Artist's Year Off.  She is the creator of the Bead Soup Blog Party tm.

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