Friday, April 22, 2011

Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother by Amy Chua

This is the April book for our book club. It was not one of my favorites - but it has to the potential to be a book full of discussion spots.

The premise: Amy Chua has two daughters and she has determined they will be raised as good Chinese daughters because she is the perfect Chinese mother. That means she bullies, screams, pesters, sacrifices, prods and accepts nothing less than absolute PERFECTION!

Her husband is only a shadow in this story, but he has given his wife full control of this part of their life and my goodness she takes over. Sophia, the older of the girls is molded into a piano prodigy. Lulu the younger is molded into a violinist extraordinare. At least that is the plan...

Lulu does not take kindly to this plan. Slowly she becomes a formidable opponent for her mother's zealous mothering. The battle brews throughout the story and explodes. There is an interesting that I won't give away.

What do I think...
I have been a teacher for my entire adult life. I have rubbed up against many different types of parents - all of them "Western" parents. I could not quantify them in a few sentences or a generalize what they are. Amy does this continuously throughout the book. She constantly explains what 'western' parents would do rather than the wonderful "Chinese mother' method. I HATED THAT!!! This entire book is a stereotype! Earlier I called Amy zealous, but that is being generous to mom...she is so far beyond that I can't really quantify her. This description makes me want to assume that all Chinese Mother's are Tiger Moms. But based on my teacher past I am sure that is not true!! ARGH!!! That is exactly what I hate about what she did.

So what did I get from the story...A push to understand again that parenting is an extremely personal task which most of us fail miserably at and yet we end up with INCREDIBLE kids. We try our best with our abilities and our stereotypes, and our kids are both the guinea pigs and unknown element.

And that brings me to the other reminder for me as a teacher... I sometimes assume I know what the parenting is like in a family. But, I can't. The parent can do exactly the same thing with tremendously different results!!

Finally - I am SO pleased I didn't grow up in a family like this. I don't think I would have survived!!!

So...I would say this is the kind of book you can ask someone else to describe to you, or check it out at a your money and borrow my copy!

1 comment:

Kim said...

Yes, I am sooooo glad I didn't buy this book! You would definitely have been Lulu had you been raised by a tiger mother!!!