A quirky reflection on the modern immigrant experience and hyphenated ethnicity in America.

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TIGER BABIES STRIKE BACK

HOW I WAS RAISED BY A TIGER MOM BUT COULD NOT BE TURNED TO THE DARK SIDE

Novelist Keltner (Buddha Baby, 2005, etc.) examines her struggle to define her own identity as a Chinese-American.

Shaping her memoir as a rebuttal to Yale law professor Amy Chua's controversial and best-selling Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother (2011), Keltner writes about her experiences being raised by a vintage Tiger Mother and her rejection of that model. Only as she reached adulthood did she realize the extent of the prejudice faced by Chinese immigrants and begin to appreciate her family. The author describes how her own mother referred to her as lazy despite the fact that by age 38, she had graduated from the University of California with a double major and published three novels while putting her husband through graduate school and then raising a daughter. Her parents immigrated to America after World War II, and they were intent on working hard to make a success of their new lives, while still holding on to Chinese traditions. Keltner wanted nothing more than to identify with her American schoolmates. In college, she studied English literature and met her husband in a Chaucer class. Even though he was white and only a schoolteacher, Keltner’s parents accepted him into the family and adored their granddaughter. Eventually, she and her husband moved from San Francisco to the less-stressful environment of Nevada City, away from the web of family obligations. The author writes with compassion, humor, love and anger about her mother's combination of tough love and high expectations. “[N]ot every Chinese parent rules the home with an iron fist of fury,” she writes. Anything but a Tiger Mother herself, she lavishes love and attention on her daughter.

A quirky reflection on the modern immigrant experience and hyphenated ethnicity in America.

Pub Date: April 30, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-06-222929-8

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Feb. 27, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2013

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An engrossing memoir as well as a lively treatise on what extraordinary grace under extraordinary pressure looks like.

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BECOMING

The former first lady opens up about her early life, her journey to the White House, and the eight history-making years that followed.

It’s not surprising that Obama grew up a rambunctious kid with a stubborn streak and an “I’ll show you” attitude. After all, it takes a special kind of moxie to survive being the first African-American FLOTUS—and not only survive, but thrive. For eight years, we witnessed the adversity the first family had to face, and now we get to read what it was really like growing up in a working-class family on Chicago’s South Side and ending up at the world’s most famous address. As the author amply shows, her can-do attitude was daunted at times by racism, leaving her wondering if she was good enough. Nevertheless, she persisted, graduating from Chicago’s first magnet high school, Princeton, and Harvard Law School, and pursuing careers in law and the nonprofit world. With her characteristic candor and dry wit, she recounts the story of her fateful meeting with her future husband. Once they were officially a couple, her feelings for him turned into a “toppling blast of lust, gratitude, fulfillment, wonder.” But for someone with a “natural resistance to chaos,” being the wife of an ambitious politician was no small feat, and becoming a mother along the way added another layer of complexity. Throw a presidential campaign into the mix, and even the most assured woman could begin to crack under the pressure. Later, adjusting to life in the White House was a formidable challenge for the self-described “control freak”—not to mention the difficulty of sparing their daughters the ugly side of politics and preserving their privacy as much as possible. Through it all, Obama remained determined to serve with grace and help others through initiatives like the White House garden and her campaign to fight childhood obesity. And even though she deems herself “not a political person,” she shares frank thoughts about the 2016 election.

An engrossing memoir as well as a lively treatise on what extraordinary grace under extraordinary pressure looks like.

Pub Date: Nov. 13, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5247-6313-8

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Nov. 30, 2018

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The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...

NIGHT

Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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