Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Staff picks – Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother by Amy Chua

A colleague of mine has a great talent for finding good books out of seemingly nowhere. One of the many she’s mentioned to me is Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother (M) by Amy Chua. At first I didn’t think I’d enjoy it given that I read very little non-fiction. However, when the book came in as a hold I decided to give it a try. I sat down last Monday afternoon and didn’t stop until I got to the last page later that night.

I can’t say that it was a light or fun read but it certainly was a major eye-opener. Not just into this family’s world but into the world of the “Chinese parent”. I have to admit that I really never thought about how Chinese parents (or parents from other Asian communities) might parent differently than the average Western parent. After all, we all want out children to succeed, be happy, and live up to their full potential. According to Amy Chua, how we go about achieving this is what separates us from each other. Her book "traces the rewards and pitfalls of a Chinese mother's exercise in extreme parenting, describing the exacting standards applied to grades, music lessons, and avoidance of Western cultural practices" -HPL catalogue.

Some of the stories gave me food for thought but mostly I was shocked. Chua’s eldest daughter Sophia goes along with this way of life and seems accepting of the Chinese way; however, things get really interesting when her youngest daughter Lulu begins to rebel. Her ultimate rebellion sows the seed for this book.

So pick it up, read, and let me know what you think!


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