A Mother’s Memoir

US-based author Amy Chua clears the air on her book,Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother.

Written by Pallavi Pundir | Published: January 23, 2012 5:13:13 am

Even though the West did not get the satire 49-year-old author Amy Chua intended to share with her book,Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother,there were many takers for the strict,“Asian” style of parenting she advocates,at the Jaipur Literature Festival. Many parents turned up for a rather therapeutic session on Saturday for Chua’s discussion on “Tiger Mothers”. “This book is not an expose. It’s a family project,” said Chua,adding,“The book was more of a catharsis. I wrote it as a therapy. With my previous books,I would write,say,two sentences a day,and then I would read them aloud. But with this one,it took me just two months to complete two-thirds of it. In fact,most of it is not edited,” she said,as the audience,especially women,nodded with understanding. At her session on Saturday,her interaction turned out to be a candid confession on the making of her controversial book. With her elder daughter Sophia by her side,Chua confessed that the book had been proofed by her daughters,husband,her parents and even her three sisters,before it was published. “I showed my daughters every single line and they even said,‘I never said that’. Eventually,the book was a result of negotiations with my family members.”

However,the US-based author is convinced that many do not get her humour,including her Chinese parents. “I don’t think anyone gets it. My book is very popular in China as well and I don’t think they get the book either,” she said,gravely,adding that she was shocked by the controversy that her views triggered. Excerpts of her book published in a newspaper titled Why Chinese Mothers Are Superior was widely criticised in the blogosphere last year. At Jaipur,Chua labelled her book “weird” and spoke about everything from banned sleepovers to being a proud “tiger mom”. “The traditional Asian parents did not know how to convey love and hence the strict parenting. I know I need to respect the personalities of my daughters but in the end,I am always going to be a tiger mom,” she laughed. However,the author seems to enjoy the approval of her daughter. Sophia quipped,“I will be a tiger mom too because my relationship with my mother has been very interesting.”

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