The story flowed seamlessly, kudos to the author’s storytelling skills. She kept this reader at bay as to what the family secret was, at the same time, introducing other characters into the story ... There was nothing I didn’t like about the novel, although I did wish the characters were more developed, as I felt they were slightly compromised because of the many other side characters that were introduced, which I felt weren’t integral to the story ... I appreciated the author’s intention of including the other characters to bring discuss other themes besides family, identity, and love, such as racism, Asian women fetishism, and body image. Yes, there were a lot that the author tried to achieve in one novel; an attempt I respect, this being her first novel ... If you’re looking for a quick story to devour, give this a gander, especially if you love a good family drama, and one that includes learning something about our Asian culture and Taiwanese food!
Butler offers a fast-moving, easy-to-read story that almost belies the depth of her thematic preoccupations as she recounts funny dating episodes and other diverting strands. The martial-arts story line is empowering, as are the glimpses into the reality of growing up biracial and the enormous pressures of cultural expectations. The interesting array of characters and energetic plot will please readers.
Unembellished and forthright, The Tiger Mom’s Tale is a touching story that illuminates intricacies of race, ethnicity, traditions and stereotypes ... a literary melting pot brimming with blended families and cultures. The straightforward, exposition-heavy narrative is sprinkled with Mandarin and broad references to different Asian foods and cultural elements, although the lack of development of these aspects may distract the reader from fully immersing themselves in Lexa’s journey to connect with her heritage. Scenes that reveal backstory and the surprising events that turned Lexa away from her Taiwanese relatives slowly tease out the novel’s climax ... Lexa’s gentle humility and quiet confidence will garner the support of readers looking for a likable protagonist. A heartwarming romantic subplot is a sweet result of Lexa’s transformation and self-acceptance and provides another union of ethnic backgrounds ... Filled with potential book club discussion topics and perfect for fans of YA novels by Jenny Han, The Tiger Mom’s Tale will unleash timely dialogue about identity, family secrets and cultural divides.
... riveting ... Butler weaves in convincing descriptions of Lexa’s navigating of the dating scene and the fetishizing of Asian women, and depicts a fascinatingly complex antagonist in Pin-Yen, who by the end must contend with the effect of her past actions. Butler breathes zesty new life into women’s fiction.
Melodramatic plot twists pile on with lightning speed, but a dinner scene in which Lexa and her two half sisters confront a White man with 'yellow fever,' intent on objectifying Asian women, is hilarious. Other plot points suffer from a reliance on stereotypes. The central mystery of the novel, the cause of Lexa's estrangement from her biological father, is unfortunately predicated on a misogynist and racist caricature. Jing Tao's wife, Pin-Yen, is literally referred to as a Tiger Mom and is characterized in broad strokes: She forces piano lessons on her own daughter and pushes for academic success. Pin-Yen commits truly egregious acts of cruelty against the 14-year-old Lexa, but her cartoonish villainy undermines the book. If Jing Tao is truly the enlightened, loving man the reader is told he is, what would have sustained his marriage to a woman so monstrous? Why can't he and his wife communicate with each other like adults? That Jing Tao never noticed his wife's manipulations is a convenient plot device that reveals how underwritten he is as a character. The novel is trying for a breezy, sometimes-comical, sometimes-sentimental depiction of family and heritage, but such paper-thin characterizations undermine its own good intention ... Family drama cannot transcend soap-operatic plot twists and too-easy resolutions.