Sunday, 12 June 2011

Book Review: Battle Hymm of the Tiger Mother

Parents. They have different ways and views of raising their own kids. Reading the thought-provoking Battle Hymm of the Tiger Mother, however, has made me incredibly thankful for how my parents brought me up. This book was not in my "To Buy" list. My cousin sister bought it for my mum and of course, yours truly laid her paws on it.

This book by Amy Chua really opened my eyes. It is astounding on how severe and harsh some parents can be in order to make their kids successful. In fact, I was horrified and amazed by Chua's strictness with her two daughters, Sophia and Lulu. Here's a sneak peek at things that she forbids her children from doing:

- Attend a sleepover
- Have a playdate
- Watch TV or play computer games
- Get any grade less than an A
- Not play the piano or violin

When I read this list, my jaw literally dropped. What kind of life is that? All study and work without fun and play? That would be hellish, wouldn't it? Chua claimed that she raised her children according to the Chinese way. Indeed Chinese parents are known for their stern upbringing and their emphasis on education. But Chua has really defined "strict Chinese upbringing" in a whole new way.

I'm Chinese but my parents do not implement such harsh rules. In fact, they gave me freedom in choosing what I wanted to do with my life. There was no nagging to study constantly nor did they force me to take up anything that I didn't want to. Perhaps that was what drove me to study hard to achieve good grades. I wanted to make them proud.

Still, I must say that Amy Chua did a good job in writing this book. It is certainly a most interesting read. I admire her for her courage to reveal private things such as detailed arguements with her daughters as well as her own personal thoughts and beliefs. What's more, Chua's daughters did turn out to be whizzes and music prodigies. Sophia excels in playing the piano while Lulu is an ace with the violin. However, her daughters did ultimately burst at her constant demands to be better. It is refreshing to read about how Chua eventually lets loose a little for the sake of her daughters.

In conclusion, this book is engaging and at times hilarious. More importantly, it offers an insight into the fascinating world of the "Tiger Mother". A good read indeed :)

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