Reviews for Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother

AudioFile Reviews 2011 May
This audiobook will have "weak-willed," "indulgent" parents making sarcastic, probably unprintable, comments to their MP3 players. Amy Chua notes that being a "Chinese mother" is more a state of mind than of ethnicity. While the parenting goals she espouses are laudable--"arming [one's] children with skills, strong work habits, and inner confidence," listeners will cringe at her unrelenting harshness in carrying out those goals. Her daughters aren't allowed playdates or sleepovers, and a grade of A- brings the wrath of the Tiger Mother. The girls must practice their instruments for hours daily--only piano or violin is acceptable--and she threatens: "If the next time's not PERFECT, I'm going to take all your stuffed animals and burn them!" In interviews Chua has insisted that her book is a satire--sort of. But that quality does not come through in her reading, which is characterized by a crisp, bright timbre and a self-satisfied tone. S.J.H. (c) AudioFile 2011, Portland, Maine

Publishers Weekly Reviews 2011 May #1

Considering the polarizing controversy her book has engendered, Chua comes across as surprisingly likable and engaging in her audiobook. Her narration and the text make it clear that while she vaunts her strict, "Chinese parenting," she is aware how and when she went too far. Her voice toggles between firm and self-righteous (this is her "earlier self" talking) and self-deprecation: she pokes fun at her extremism, muttering grumpily, "I didn't see what was so funny!" when her husband laughs at her insistence that he have big ambitions for not only their daughters but also the family dog. Chua's voice softens with doubt and questioning as she wonders how her daughters will look back at their childhoods, and she acknowledges that it's still a struggle for her to relinquish control. A thought-provoking and engaging listen. A Penguin Press hardcover. (Feb.)

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