Lexa is thirty-five, living in New York City, single, a personal trainer and biracial. She’s very close with her mother Susan and her stepfather Craig. She has not seen her Taiwanese birth father for many years. When her half sister Hsu-Ling calls her with the news that their father has died, Lexa is forced to confront her past and the secrets that kept them apart for so long. While dealing with this loss, Lexa and her American half sister Maddie are adjusting to their mother’s decision to leave Craig for a woman. The book alternates with looks back at several of Lexa’s childhood visits to Taiwan and her troubled relationship with her father Jing Tao’s wife Pin-Yen, the tiger mother in the title.
The Tiger Mom’s Tale has a lot going for it. It’s a light, easy read that provides a welcome Asian perspective. There aren’t many books that present the Taiwanese American experience. All families have drama and Lexa’s two families have more than most. I enjoyed Lexa’s journey as she tries to reconcile her feelings about her birth father as she considers a trip to Taiwan for a final goodbye. The author, who herself is biracial Taiwanese American, does a fine job presenting a heritage many readers may be unfamiliar with. I did feel that the book’s title was somewhat misleading as this is Lexa’s story and Pin-Yen is not simply a tiger mother, she is a bad person – even if her background explains her actions. After listening to an interview with the author, I understand her ultimate decision on the title.
If you are like me and try to read books about a wide range of cultures and heritages, The Tiger Mom’s Tale is worth a look. This is author Lyn Liao Butler’s debut novel with another book coming out next year. I’ll certainly look out for it.
Rated 3.75 out of 5 stars.
Publication Date: July 6, 2021.
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