The controversial memoir of a Chinese mother's strict parenting methods designed to produce stereotypically overachieving Asian kids.
Chua, the daughter of Chinese immigrants to the USA, writes about the extreme methods she used to turn her young daughters into musical prodigies. She spent countless hours fighting with them over their instruments, forcing them to practice on vacation, and driving hours each day to get them to the best music tutors in New England. Her standards and methods are fairly representative of the lengths to which many Chinese parents go to make sure their kids are successful, but they seem cruel and unusual from a Western perspective.
Although this book was promoted with an article calling Chinese mothers superior to Western parents, Chua does have a partial change of heart at the end of the book. Despite her micromanaging practices, you can see her very slowly realizing that she might not want her daughters to hate her after all. Most of the controversy on the web has surrounds the article, which does not include the part where Chua realizes she might have been too harsh. I would recommend reading the book before deciding what you think about it.
I think the book was written prematurely because the girls are still teenagers. It isn't yet clear whether their successes as adults will outweigh the potential damage to their relationship with their mother. I am also curious to see whether they will be able to demonstrate self-motivation, confidence, and creativity after having their lives so closely controlled by their mother. The book was also disappointingly short, especially for the price. I wish the author would have waited until her daughters were a bit older so time could truly tell how much wisdom there is in her methods.
I don't think the author has her own website, but here is her profile on Yale's faculty page: Amy Chua. There are plenty of articles about her on the web following her Wall Street Journal article: Why Chinese Mothers Are Superior
The Kindle edition was $12.99 and it was very short. This is the first time I've thought an e-book was overpriced.
Do you think it is more important to make sure your kids are successful or to make sure you have a good relationship with them?