You’ve read Amy Chua’s “Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother,” or, far more likely, you’ve read the widely circulated Wall Street Journal excerpt from her book. (Maybe you’ve just read the extensive criticism of the book, and that’s okay too.)
Now you can read what her much-discussed daughters have to say. Sophia Chua-Rubenfeld, whose acceptance to Yale and Harvard made recent headlines (the perfect vindication for any status-obsessed hard-ass Asian parent), has a blog. And you know what? She’s got a sense of humor.
Chua-Rubenfeld’s taking reader questions about her upbringing, emotional health, and everyday life as the daughter of a woman who caused a media firestorm by extolling the virtues of the model-minority parenting myth. From the blog, dubbed New Tiger in Town:
Q: Are those claw marks on your door?
A: Yes. Not mine, though (pianists have to keep their nails trimmed).
Maybe this wasn’t meant to be a joke, but it made me laugh. Those hoping for a peek inside the wounded psyches of Chua’s kids will be disappointed. They project confidence and smarts and a well-adjusted good humor about the world and their mom. Though, Chua-Rubenfeld also skewers her mom, gently:
Language barrier aside: wow, that woman can order Chinese food. There’s a ridiculous amount of dandan noodles, soup-filled dumplings, cumin beef, fatty twice-cooked pork, rice cakes, bok choy in garlic sauce, spicy intestines (which Lulu refuses to eat), soft tofu and mushrooms, and flounder stew, all of which we then da bao (take home as leftovers). My mom tells the waiter to wrap up the remains of EVERY dish, even if it’s just a puddle of oil. The waiter gives us the most judgmental look ever, so the tiger mom yells, “I can make 4 dinners of fried rice out of that!!” And while the waiter’s still scraping oyster sauce off 6 plates into a single takeout box, my mom turns to us and says, “We can’t let them think we’re wasteful, or NEXT TIME THEY’LL GYP* US!”
As the daughter of a Chinese mother, I know very well the mandate to either scarf down or box up every last uneaten morsel of food at restaurants. That, in turn, reminded me that as much as I’ve got to say about the woman who raised me, I will always be, first and foremost, fiercely protective of her.
But who knows, the new blog may be a preview for its own book deal down the line!
*Editor’s note: “Gyp” is a complicated word with a long history. It’s a slur to some and not to others. We don’t use it outside of quotes at Colorlines.com