Review of The Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother by Amy Chua

WI-Flyers Book Club

The Battle Hymn of the Tiger Motherby Amy Chua

At our last meeting on Wednesday 16thJanuary, the WI-Flyers Book Club met up at The Prince of Wales on Rectory Road (opposite Farnborough North Infant School) to enjoy a glass of wine and talk about our latest book, The Battle Hymn of the Tiger Motherby Amy Chua.

Well, this controversial book certainly gave us a lot to talk about! 

Amy Chua is an American lawyer, academic and writer; she is currently a Professor at Yale Law School, and Battle Hymn of The Tiger Mother is her third book.  It is a memoir about her parenting journey using strict Chinese child rearing techniques. It was an instant international bestseller and has been translated into 30 languages.  It also received huge backlash and media attention and ignited global debate about her parenting techniques; the book provoked uproar and Chua even received death threats and calls for her arrest on child-abuse charges. It continues to be widely discussed.

Chua’s parents are Chinese immigrants, both academics in their own right, who brought up their daughters using this strict Chinese method, and with a great deal of success.  Chua decided she wanted to emulate this and ensure that her own daughters would not grow up as lazy, spoilt, entitled brats; they would learn that the only way to get on in life is to work hard – very hard – and, when things get tough, to pick yourself up and carry on until you succeed.  

As you can imagine, this provoked a very lively debate as we criticised and praised this mother, who – when all is said and done – only wanted the best for her children and believed she was doing the right thing. We all reflected on our own upbringing, and on how we had raised our own children … maybe even going so far as to wonder if we could have – should have – done a few things differently?  

Many have expressed the belief that Chua’s two daughters suffered so much during their childhoods that they would turn out to be cowed, insecure, socially inept outsiders.  But quite the opposite is true … Sophia and Lulu have thrived and become successful, highly intelligent, hard-working young women.  They are happy and loving; both have expressed their appreciation of their mother’s hard work and commitment in their upbringing and have even gone so far as to say that they would also become tiger mothers themselves, when the time comes.