Monday, January 12, 2015

Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother by Amy Chua

by Celine Zhu

Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother is all about family. Although it's a family drastically different from many other families, it's a family nonetheless. What begins as a how-to guide for western parents to tailor their parenting to produce prodigies transitions into an authentic human story of a unique collection of lives. I enjoyed the realism of the story and how the growing tension between family members escalated subtlety and realistically. The book also shows you the inner workings of Asian family dynamics, which from the exterior may appear robotic and factory-like, but suffers (or enjoys) the same mushy sentimentality of all other families. Although it may be veiled within appreciative grunts or permission to events that all other parents would accept with the blink of their eye, Amy Chua is able to display the esoteric language of love in a Tiger family.

I’ve never read a book quite like it. The transforming voice of the author was an interesting element to pick up on. Chua’s reaction and change in writing depending on the action of her daughters was able to paint the image of the push-and-pull relationship between parents and their children. I would strongly recommend this to parents and children alike. Parents, because they can relate to the perils of adolescent angst and rebellion. Children, because it’s enlightening to realize the humanity of your own parents. Needless to say, the book is an eye opening experience for any member of the diverse family dynamic.

Unfortunately, if you have a rigid parenting philosophy and a narrow mind, this book will be infuriating. Translating seemingly appalling actions into their loving messages can be a challenge to the monolingual. However, if you’re willing to listen and learn, the book will tell you a tale you already know: a tale of ignorance, realization, love, family, and of course--Tigers.

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