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4.0 out of 5 stars163
4.0 out of 5 stars
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on 24 September 2012
An irritatingly good read- why irritating ? because as a Western parent and moreover a teacher of young children I was constantly shouting at the author as she forced her opinions on her children, her husband and on me the reader- opinions on child rearing which are so opposed to mine that I wanted to strangle her. It was so well written that I felt it personally and wanted to call Child Protection- by the end she had me thinking perhaps many Western kids do get away with murder- and possibly for the wrong reason that it is easier to let them have their own way. I felt she backed down a little towards the end- had she been browbeaten I wondered, but as a book to make you think and have heated discussion it is a must.
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on 9 February 2014
In the book, Amy Chua describes her experience of parenting her two daughters the "Chinese" way. I agree with her opinions up to a point, and I related to some of it. I also learned piano by the Suzuki method, but in my case I got bored and frustrated, so I was interested to hear about another experience of the method.

On the other hand, the book was too short in my opinion, I read it in an afternoon and I felt slightly short changed having thought I was getting something more meaty. The book focused mostly on music lessons, but it would have been interesting to read more of an overview of her parenting style. Also, as I said I'm interested in the Suzuki method, but the whole method and its pros and cons were covered in just a few sentences. Obviously the book's aimed at people who know little about the subject, but I imagine many of the people who are actually drawn to read the book will be familiar with some of the techniques already. I think she should have elaborated more on her parenting/educational philosophy, because overall I think the book was too light and too short. I understand if she didn't want to go into more detail about her daughters lives, but she could have elaborated more on her own views to make the book more complete.

Another down side in my view is that she lumps together all "Westerners" in a manner which sometimes feels insulting despite the brief disclaimer at the beginning, which feels like an afterthought to be honest! The term "Western" is never defined by Amy herself, but she's lumping me together with (presumably) most North Americans, Western Europeans and Australasians. This includes hundreds of millions of people, many of them living in countries which I (and she) have never/rarely visited, and speaking languages that I (and she) don't speak. Perhaps she could have used the term "Americans" since her observations are all based on American people she has met. It would still be a generalisation, but at least she wouldn't be including people in countries she knows almost nothing about in her generalisations. Her predictable claims about Westerners' views on caring for their elderly relatives certainly don't apply equally to all "Western" countries or people for example.

Perhaps this review sounds harsh, but overall I enjoyed the book, hence the four star rating.
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Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother is the perfect parenting guide - for people without children. Of course, it is not a parenting guide at all, it's an exaggerated and satirical "memoir" of Amy Chua's experiences raising her two accomplished daughters.

Having read her World on Fire: How Exporting Free Market Democracy Breeds Ethnic Hatred and Global Instability some years ago, I was aware that Amy Chua has a readable style and controversial opinions. It was a thought-provoking book. I didn't agree with everything she said, but she made me think. When I saw she had a new book out I looked forward to it, but was disappointed to find out it was a book about how she raises her children. I decided to skip it.

But the controversy (or was it hype?) made me want to see what the fuss was about. All through the book, Chua comes across as manic and sometimes completely unhinged. Her daughters are much more mature than she is, as she portrays them in her book. Her older daughter copes with dragon/tiger mother by going along with her for the most part, only occasionally rebelling surreptitiously. The younger daughter is more open in her rebellion. She fights fire with fire and no one escapes wthout a few burns.

I can't imagine anyone reading this book could believe it is serious, let alone that it is actually advocating extreme tiger parenting. For one thing, it is simply not possible that anyone could have the energy to teach classes at Yale Law School, as Chua does, write books, plan trips and receptions, and still have time to ride roughshod over her daughters every waking moment they are not in school.

Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother is the funniest book I've read in months, so I have to thank those who kept the book in the news for whatever reason. I rarely have occasion to read parenting manuals, but I always have time for some really clever satire.
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on 19 February 2011
Chua's book is not simply an argument for raising children to be prodigies, it is an honest memoir and learning experience on the part of herself. If the book was purely aimed towards glorifying this style, much of what was there would be excluded.

The book highlights not only the severity of Chua's parenting (which is obvious), but the extreme opposite of Western parenting. Most readers will have many reservations about Chua's style, but should, at the same time, realise how so many children these days are wasted by their parent's apathy. Even for those who can afford it, few parents are eager to push their children to learn a second language or a musical instrument, even though both skills will give them a tremendous advantage in their adult life that nobody can take away. They are also raised to have little responsability and to believe that their opinion paramounts respect. Most parents will spend more money on junk food and consumer toys than they ever will on their children's education or their future which is a shame. Worse, many children will get all the shouting and nagging Chua gave and nothing to gain from it.

I do not think Chua's devotion to her daughters can be questioned. Her life is clearly demanding, but the success of her daughters is her chief priority and happiness. In some places, I felt as if I was Lulu when reading it. If Chua was my mother, I would surely be more like Lulu than Sophia. The chapter where Chua puts her out in the snow to deal with her disobedience was something which my parents did to me at the same age and, like Lulu, I refused to relent. It was funny, but Lulu's frustration is something I can easily identify with. I imagine if Chua was as allowing as she came to be at the start, Lulu's problems would be greatly eschewed, but then again, perhaps her determination to succeed in sports wouldn't be as powerful. It's hard to say. Either way, I wouldn't completely advocate Chua's parenting style, but I would reccommend this book to anyone who is open-minded about the issue and to any parents who are genuinely concerned about their child's future. There is definitely much to gain from it, even if you don't agree with everything there!
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on 6 August 2011
Great book from start to finish. Funny, yet sad. Really felt for her daughters and husband. Gave me an insight that no mother is perfect- no matter how hard you try. I really enjoyable quick read.
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on 8 February 2011
Certainly brings back my childhood as my upbringing was very similar. However, was allowed to go to the bathroom and quit something, as long as you have given it a good go, explained your reasons and then told sternly not to regret it later. I was pushed hard to achieve the best in everything I do and is that such a bad thing? It was not as if I was stripped of any happiness and joy of being a kid.
I didn't think it was too harsh or particularly odd, until I came to study in England in my teens on a scholarship. I was actually a bit 'weirded out' that kids were talking back to their parents and nobody was upset about failing subjects. No parents. Everything was more relaxed, nothing was regularly monitored (or expected) and I had a minor rebellion. Slept in later, missed a few classes, went out more. All came to head one day when I realised that I actually WANT to do well, I CAN do much better and yes, admittedly, my parents would probably be very angry if I didn't buck up and straighten myself out. Plus, it is ridiculously expensive to go out in London so often.
As I grow older, I appreciated the way I was exposed to so many things, and am very grateful I could do things that others could not. Annoyingly, I DID regret quitting certain things early, like ballet and Tae Kwan Do. My parents believed I could be the best, and there's nothing like someone believing in you to make you do better.
Some of the kids I've seen (an even some parents) could certainly use a little bit of Tiger Mother in their life. Everything in balance.
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on 4 February 2011
Very funny book. The author is a tough mother, no doubt about it, but she does have insight into her terrifying approach and acknowledges how hard it is for her daughters. Lots of limp parents will criticise this, furiously defending their own directionless, TV watching offspring. I'm not saying I would raise my own daughter exactly as Amy has done...maybe dilute it a bit. The most intersting thing would be to hear from Sophia or Lulu when they are a little older and can tell us what sort of adults they turned out to be and whether it was all worth it.
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on 3 October 2015
I read this book in one day as I simply couldn't put it down. It was both shocking and informative at the same time. I found the methods Amy Chua used very extreme in many respects and would never wish to reflect that in my own parenting style. However it was interesting to read what she perceived as the differences between western and Chinese parenting. One element which I didn't agree with was her need to blanket every western parent as easy going and relaxed in terms of child rearing while claiming that all Chinese parents use her strict methods. I personally disagree and believe parenting styles vary greatly within all cultures even when one style appears to be dominant. However it didn't distract me from the book, her daughters are both very talented and intelligent which can't be argued with, whether they would have done just as well in a more nurturing and creative environment is impossible to say. This book showed one example of how to make your children 'thrive', and as I stated above I don't support the methods used. However the book was fascinating and I highly recommend it as a window into a different culture and how it shaped one woman's views on raising dutiful and obedient children.
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on 15 October 2012
I had read newspaper reviews of the book and interviews with Amy Chua and so was rather predisposed not to enjoy it. However, Amy was very self aware, poking fun at herself and it was obvious that she had a very close relationship with her daughters. The letter her elder daughter wrote to the press in defence of her mother was very moving.
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on 27 March 2012
Many of the people criticising this book sound like typical wet, ineffectual "nurturing" Western parents!

I don't think the tone is self-congratulatory - there is plenty of pathos and soul-searching which is very moving and takes the book way beyond a guidebook on how (or how not to) raise children. Some of the author's barbed criticisms of Western parenting styles really hit home, especially her claims that by tolerating mediocrity Western parents are failing their children. Western parents are less honest - they either try to hide their ambitions for their children and are passive-aggressive in their dealings with schools and other parents, or in too many cases simply can't be bothered to put in the effort needed to get the best out of them and rationalise their own laziness by resorting to self-serving psychobabble about kids' "self esteem".

Don't let the po faced thought police put you off reading this superb and provocative book.
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