Our man in London sends word that we got it all wrong about Dragon Mother Amy Chua, the Yale University law professor whose parenting book Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother has been such a controversy-stirring best-seller. We had failed to realize the book was not a paean to alpha-mom parenting but a satire on it. Our man directs us to an interview with Chua in today’s FT:
The book was an attempt at satire. Chua tried to paint a self-effacing portrait and use humour to poke fun at her shortcomings. “It is a strange memoir. You hear me making fun of myself 18 years ago, and then I change. It is a self-caricature. Yet every review is on the parenting methods described,” [Chua] laments. “I had higher ambitions, that people would see it more for its literary merits,” she says, again with a laugh. “That’s not come out at all.” The authors she admires, and was hoping to somehow emulate, include Nabokov and David Sedaris.
Perhaps we should have guessed when we learned that the book was being published in the Chinese market under the title Being An American Mum. Our apologies. We are just too busing being post-ironic to keep up. And we are sure Chua is still able to be satirical all the way to the bank.