Thursday, September 11, 2014

Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother by Amy Chua (review by Andrew R. '17)

Battle Hymn of the Tiger MotherBattle Hymn of the Tiger Mother by Amy Chua
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

When Amy Chua set out to chronicle her struggles with Chinese parenting and her views on Western child rearing in her memoir Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother, she must have known she was venturing into dangerous territory. Its polarizing messages—that immigrant families suffer “generational decline” as they stray further and further from their mother cultures, that constant interference in a child’s life and education is a way of showing parental love—triggered cries of relief and fury alike. No two readers of Chua’s memoir will have the same opinion about her take on so touchy a topic; the book’s content is utterly un-critiquable. But, if readers manage to overlook the flashy sensationalism of Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother, they’ll notice certain elements that dilute the value and validity of its message: unsubstantiated research, sweeping generalizations, and, above all, the author’s habit of digressing into vignettes about her children’s scholastic and musical triumphs. Die-hard “Western parents” and aspiring tiger mothers can extol or condemn this memoir as much as they like, but their efforts won’t change its chronic lack of structure and authority. - Andrew R. '17

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