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All decent parents want to do what's best for their children. What Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother reveals is that the Chinese just have a totally different idea of how to do that. Western parents try to respect their children's individuality, encouraging them to pursue their true passions and providing a nurturing environment. The Chinese believe that the best way to protect your children is by preparing them for the future and arming them with skills, strong work habits, and inner confidence. Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother chronicles Chua's iron-willed decision to raise her daughters, Sophia and Lulu, her way - the Chinese way - and the remarkable results her choice inspires.
The truth is Lulu and Sophia would never have had time for a playdate. They were too busy practicing their instruments (two to three hours a day and double sessions on the weekend) and perfecting their Mandarin. Of course no one is perfect, including Chua herself. Witness this scene: "According to Sophia, here are three things I actually said to her at the piano as I supervised her practicing: 1. Oh my God, you're just getting worse and worse. 2. I'm going to count to three, then I want musicality. 3. If the next time's not PERFECT, I'm going to take all your stuffed animals and burn them!"
But Chua demands as much of herself as she does of her daughters. And in her sacrifices - the exacting attention spent studying her daughters' performances, the office hours lost shuttling the girls to lessons - the depth of her love for her children becomes clear.
Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother is an eye-opening exploration of the differences in Eastern and Western parenting - and the lessons parents and children everywhere teach one another.
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Michael Blumstein on 01-15-12
Provocative for all parents
Definitely worth a listen for anyone who is a parent (or considering such). Ms. Chua raises important questions about how hard to push as a parent and the natural conflict between wanting to create a "perfect" child and wanting to have an easy, loving relationship with your child. The book also helps to humanize Ms. Chua a bit -- the Wall Street Journal excerpt focused on all the extremes in the book.
--Last chapter could have used more reflection by Ms. Chua. Would she have done anything differently if she could and why? What else did she learn from her parenting experience?
--Book needed a good editor to delete numerous trite phrases like "sharp as a tack." A Yale law prof can be more thoughtful about word choice (or getting an editor).
--Ms.Chua isn't a professional narrator.
7 of 7 people found this review helpful
By Diana - Audible on 04-17-12
Surprisingly touching (and well-read)
As an Asian American, I read my share of Tiger Mother articles debating the merits of Amy Chua’s tough love, but for-the-best-of-her-children approach to parenting. And while many of these articles depicted Chua as a relentless dragon lady-type mom, none of them prepared me for some of the touching stories she actually had to tell in Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother.
Now don’t get me wrong – Chua did force her daughters to practice the violin, for hours, on family vacations – but she also confesses to feelings of loss and doubt when she’s just not sure if she’s doing the right thing, the best thing for her daughters.
In the end, whether you agree with her or not, you’re sure to take away some helpful insights about seeing and bringing out the best in your son or daughter. And if Chua’s assured first-time narration is any indicator, the hard work may just pay off after all.
10 of 11 people found this review helpful