Sunday, October 16, 2011
Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother
Author: Amy Chua
Publishing Information: Penguin Press. 2011. 235 pages.
Book Source: I read this book as the book selection from my local book club.
Favorite Quote: "All decent parents want to do what is best for their children."
Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother is a much talked about, much written about, much discussed book on parenting - in the Chinese culture and in "western" cultures. In the context of her own life, Amy Chua talks about parenting styles. Her style - the Chinese style - is about setting the highest expectations and accepting nothing less no matter what. She describes her own parenting struggles with her daughters, and the success and failures as a parent.
We can talk about this book on two levels - the ideas of the book and how the book reads as a story. To me, the idea of the book is summarized by the above quote. "All decent parents want to do what is best for their children." Different people have wildly different approaches as to how to go about doing do so. As the book points out, differences occur based on demographics, cultural background, and individual experiences. The discussion in the book and everything that has appeared in the media since its publication makes for fascinating discussion points. The book does not answer (and I would not expect it to) the question as to which parent style is better. It is a matter of opinion.
Aside from the philosophical discussion, the book is supposed to be the story of a family. Unfortunately, the book for me does not elicit emotion for the characters. The telling of the story seems a somewhat detached look rather than a personal tale. For this reason, the book was not a compelling read.