Skip to main content

Review: Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother

I have a crush on Amy Chua. OK not really. She is insane but man, I loved her book. It felt like a breakthrough to me because she does such a fantastic job dissecting the difference between Chinese and Western parenting and what she did was tremendously helpful in me appreciating being Chinese. That revelation is such a treasure to me. Here is an intelligent, incredibly well-educated, strong, headstrong, stubborn, courageous, ridiculously articulate and intense woman who makes me proud to be Chinese and particularly Chinese American. She helped me appreciate being Chinese in a way only someone who straddles both cultures can. And in the end, she admits to being (almost) as dysfunctional as the rest of us. She’s an amazing writer – very concise and much less pretentious (although every bit as elite) than Ayelet Waldman's Bad Mother. She drops big words occasionally but mostly her prose is terse and easy to read. Its just good. And she’s hilarious – total deadpan humor that I love. She’ll totally set you up with the way she writes. Like this line – in reference to the difference between how Jed’s parents and her parents’ traveled she writes “Also, having grown up in the developing world, my parents wouldn’t have gone to Guatemala, Zimbabwe, or Borobudur, Indonesia if someone paid them; they took us to Europe instead, which has governments.”

Her ending was terrible though and it was unavoidable for two reasons 1) her kids are not yet grown so it remains to be seen whether her parenting was truly “successful”, whether its really meaningful to be that good at violin or piano. I suck at violin and I don’t regret it at all. I just regret that I didn’t learn discipline or perseverance from my parents. I think they tried to teach me but I guess they gave up. 2) As a Christian, we know how to end well (or perhaps I should say God knows how to end things well). There’s always a good ending if you’re a Christian. If you’re not religious, it can end hopeful but it always feels a little shallow or contrived. Of course, it can end that if you’re also a Christian but there are so many more possible outcomes – so many much meaning available and so much more hope and freedom when there is death and resurrection.


Popular posts from this blog

A Dad's Review of Passport 2 Purity

[3,100 words, 11 minute read] The sex talk is one of the most dreaded conversations parents anticipate having with their children. To make things easier, an entire industry exists to help parents with sex education. Dozens of books have been written to help parents navigate this treacherous topic with their progeny. One of the best known among evangelicals is called the Passport 2 Purity Getaway package . It is produced by FamilyLife, a division of Cru (former Campus Crusade for Christ) and consists of a five lecture CD package including a journal and exercises designed as a weekend retreat for a pre-pubescent child and his/her parent(s). Passport 2 Purity was not my initiative. Our trip came about because Judy had heard from several home-schooling mom friends how they had taken their daughters on a road trip to go through the CDs. She even heard how a mom took a trip with husband and two sons to through the curriculum. So a couple months ago, Judy suggested we take our two older boy

Why Asians Run Slower

My brother got me David Epstein's book The Sports Gene . It is a fascinating quick read. If you're interested in sports and science, it will enthrall you.  I finished it in three days. Epstein's point is that far more of an athlete's performance is due to genetics than due to the so-called "10,000 hour" rule promulgated by books such as Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell and Talent is Overrated by Geoff Colvin (both which are very good). The 10,000 hour rule states that any person can reach expert level of performance in a sport if they devote 10,000 hours of deliberate and intentional practice.  That's a lot of hours. Most people aren't capable of anywhere close. And that's precisely Epstein's point. Someone who devotes 10,000 hours of sport-specific practice is likely genetically gifted for the sport in extraordinary ways AND genetically gifted in their ability to persevere and benefit from practice. Therefore, a person who can pra

Unsolvable Problems in Marriage I: Lowering Expectations

Different expectations of conflict From a recent Facebook post: Working on a post about unsolvable problems in marriage: For those who have been married five or more years, on a scale of 1 to 10, how much expectation did you have entering into marriage that communication could resolve any conflict between you and your spouse? How would you rate that expectation now? People often enter into marriage thinking that most if not all their conflicts can be resolved. Women come into marriage thinking "I can make my husband a better man". Men come into marriage thinking, "My wife will learn to see things my way". This idealistic view of marriage does not survive contact with the enemy. Even for couples for whom the first years of marriage are conflict-free, raising children is its own brand of unsolvable problem. And then there's sickness and mental health issues, job changes, unemployment, moving, and shifts in friendships. Conflict in marriage is inevitable. A number