Thursday, August 23, 2012
In reading other reviews of the book, I got kind of annoyed, because I think the book isn't reviewed nearly as much as the author's parenting style. What reviewers seem to be missing is that this is a memoir, not a manual. So I quickly tired of seeing people give it a low rating because they don't like Chua's parenting style. The point of the book isn't to tell other people how to parent - it's a memoir of how she raised her daughters and explores what she would do the same and what she would do differently. Giving the book a poor review because you don't like her parenting methods would be like giving a memoir of addiction a bad review because you don't like addicts. The point of a memoir is to tell a story of a life experience, not to provide instruction on how others should live. And Chua meets both my "good book" criteria by presenting an well-written and entertaining memoir.
I really, really enjoyed Chua's writing. I think her pacing is great. When a memoir covers such a long period of time (thirteen years or so in this one) I usually wish the author had spent more or less time on a particular portion of the story. There's almost always a moment when I think "I wish I could read more about that time" or "I'm really ready for this portion to end". Not so with this one.
I couldn't stop reading. I found Chua's life and her parenting techniques (as well as the effect on her kids) fascinating. As Chua points out repeatedly throughout the book, it's just based on a completely different culture. I also found the reactions of Chua's American husband to be really interesting. I also really loved that Chua shows growth by the end of the book. She realizes and acknowledges mistakes she made and discusses how she might change things in the future.
I highly recommend giving it a try. You probably won't agree with how Chua raises her children - I certainly didn't. But the book isn't giving instruction, it's telling a story. And the story is fascinating in the way it shows the two cultures - Chinese and American - in stark contrast and the effects of trying (or not trying) to blend those cultural values. No matter how you feel about Chua's choices, the book is well-written and fascinating.
I borrowed this one in e-book format from my not so local library.
Posted by Julie G at 7:56 PM