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Susan in TX

Yikes! Based on your review, I'm glad I'm not a student in her law class. ;)

Dark Puss

"and there's no downtime on holidays as every vacation sees the violin being taken as hand luggage and arrangements made for the use of a piano at every hotel."

Substitute flute for violin and that sounds very familiar (though less extreme for me and self-inflicted!).


Susan, Prof. Chua seems to be less demanding where her students are concerned - here's a passage:
" 'You're so nice to your students,' Sophia and Lulu are always saying. 'They have no idea what you're really like. They all think you're nurturing and supportive.' The girls are actually right about that. I treat my law students (especially the ones with strict Asian parents) the exact opposite of the way I treat my kids."


Knowing a bit about your music schedule, DP, and not wishing to making light of the time and effort you put into it, it is as nothing compared to that of Amy Chua's girls, and by extension to Prof. Chua herself as she attends the lessons (taking notes) and supervises all the practice (leaving reams of incredibly detailed guidance notes for her daughters if she can't be there). How she manages a demanding career as well is beyond me!


I read the article about this book (that went viral so fast - and had over 3,000 comments) and blogged about it. I'm really interested to hear you've actually read the book. From an educational point of view, I think this is a terrible idea, because it only teaches children one strategy to deal with their work, when what they really need is a whole range of them.

I've had to help several Asian students at my university who have fallen foul of Chinese mother methods when transferred to a different culture and a higher level of education. At university, rote learning and lots of practice simply will not do - you need creativity and flair and insight and above all, passion. I don't think I want to read the book because having a son of my own, and helping students who are struggling with their studies brings it all a bit too close to home for me, and I think I would find it upsetting to watch kids being put through a system that might well cause them a lot of damage (the Asian students have the highest suicide rate of any ethnic group). But I'm really curious to hear about other people's experience with the book!

Dark Puss

Oh I know! I'm so glad I am me and not one of her poor duaghters. There is an interesting article about her in last Saturdays Guardian.


Litlove, you're right about the narrowness of this approach and its possible consequences, and I'm interested to hear your experience of Asian students who are having difficulties.
Amy Chua explains that while Western parents "are concerned with their children's psyches, Chinese parents aren't. They assume strength, not fragility ..." - which must make it all the harder when the child is not coping as they are expected to do.

Mr Cornflower

In education and child-rearing, Athens is better than Sparta.


I won't be buying her book either. I think it was a very brave book to write and I do understand where Amy Chua is coming from, but there is a fine line between wanting your child to do well and being obsessive with your expectations.

I do wonder too, how the children cope, really cope, when the focus changes and you need a totally different set of skills. The Chinese children that were in the same class as my children, all seemed to have a 'Tiger Mother'. Compared to the other children in the class they were socially inept and lonely, but academically, they were top of the class!!

Which was great if that's how you measure success but I do think you send your children to school to learn a little more then the academics, how you deal with your peers is just as important as a straight A report card.


I agree, Anji.


You also have to wonder how effective these force fed students will be in certain careers say,for example,medicine.

Ideally medical professionals should possess certain personal qualities as well as academic and technical skills. (In this book it sounds as if these personal qualities are devalued and overlooked in the pursuit of technical excellence.)

I loved the bit about the "ordinary pets".

Colleen (Books in the City)

I was so incensed by some of what I read about this mother that I had initially vowed not to read this book - I believe in boundaries for children but some of Chua's treatment of her children seems downright emotionally abusive.

But I have decided to read the book and judge for myself. As your review points out, I am sure the author is much less one dimensional than a crazed parent and I interested to understand her point of view.


Colleen, I found myself aghast at some of the things Prof. Chua says and does, but I'm sure she is doing - as we parents all try to do, sometimes successfully, sometimes not! - what she believes to be the best for her children. It is a fascinating subject, though, and gives plenty of food for thought.


I have just finished this book and I feel shattered by the whole experience. I am both fascinated by Prof. Chua's motivation and repelled by her "obsession" to do the best for her daughters. On the one hand, I understand her belief that the harder the children work, the more satisfied they are by their eventual accomplishments; on the the other hand, I am shocked at the lengths she went to "help" them achieve their highest levels. Even using Prof. Chua's cultural values as explanations for the way she (and her husband) decided to bring up the girls, doesn't make me any more comfortable with her approach although I respect her right to "educate" Sophia and Lulu this way. We all want the best for our children. I am disturbed, however, by the possible impact of this approach on girls who clearly live in "both worlds" and whose issues around self-esteem, over-achievement, disappointment etc. have yet to rise to the surface (if they ever do). I hope they will be fine but Lulu is clearly aware of some impact on her young life. This is still a developing situation. Quite a read.


It is quite a read, and as you've found, Deirdre, it raises more questions - particularly ones about the children's future lives - than it answers.

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