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The Tiger Mom's Tale

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When an American woman inherits the wealth of her Taiwanese family, she travels to confront them about their betrayals of the past in this stunning debut by Lyn Liao Butler. Lexa Thomas has never quite fit in. Having grown up in a family of blondes while more closely resembling Constance Wu, she's neither white enough nor Asian enough. Visiting her father in Taiwan a When an American woman inherits the wealth of her Taiwanese family, she travels to confront them about their betrayals of the past in this stunning debut by Lyn Liao Butler. Lexa Thomas has never quite fit in. Having grown up in a family of blondes while more closely resembling Constance Wu, she's neither white enough nor Asian enough. Visiting her father in Taiwan as a child, Lexa thought she'd finally found a place where she belonged. But that was years ago, and even there, some never truly considered her to be Taiwanese. When her estranged father dies unexpectedly, leaving the fate of his Taiwanese family in Lexa's hands, her safe life in New York City is no longer enough. She is faced with the choice to return to Taiwan and claim her place in her heritage . . . or leave her Taiwanese family to lose their home for good. Armed with the advice of two half sisters (one American and the other Taiwanese, who can't stand each other), a mother who has rediscovered her sexuality, and a man whose kisses make her walk into walls, Lexa finally confronts the person who drove her away from Taiwan all those decades ago. As the truth of the last fateful summer in Taiwan slowly unfolds, Lexa must stand up for herself and open her heart to family and love, or allow the repercussions of her family's choices to forever dictate the path of her life.


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When an American woman inherits the wealth of her Taiwanese family, she travels to confront them about their betrayals of the past in this stunning debut by Lyn Liao Butler. Lexa Thomas has never quite fit in. Having grown up in a family of blondes while more closely resembling Constance Wu, she's neither white enough nor Asian enough. Visiting her father in Taiwan a When an American woman inherits the wealth of her Taiwanese family, she travels to confront them about their betrayals of the past in this stunning debut by Lyn Liao Butler. Lexa Thomas has never quite fit in. Having grown up in a family of blondes while more closely resembling Constance Wu, she's neither white enough nor Asian enough. Visiting her father in Taiwan as a child, Lexa thought she'd finally found a place where she belonged. But that was years ago, and even there, some never truly considered her to be Taiwanese. When her estranged father dies unexpectedly, leaving the fate of his Taiwanese family in Lexa's hands, her safe life in New York City is no longer enough. She is faced with the choice to return to Taiwan and claim her place in her heritage . . . or leave her Taiwanese family to lose their home for good. Armed with the advice of two half sisters (one American and the other Taiwanese, who can't stand each other), a mother who has rediscovered her sexuality, and a man whose kisses make her walk into walls, Lexa finally confronts the person who drove her away from Taiwan all those decades ago. As the truth of the last fateful summer in Taiwan slowly unfolds, Lexa must stand up for herself and open her heart to family and love, or allow the repercussions of her family's choices to forever dictate the path of her life.

30 review for The Tiger Mom's Tale

  1. 4 out of 5

    Jesse Sutanto

    Oof, where to start with this incredible book? First of all, that climax scene! It actually made me gasp out loud. I felt all of the emotions in it and I just wanted to race through to the end to find out what happens next, but I forced myself to slow down so I could savor the story. This book has so much heart and humor. It’s a story about family and how complicated and layered and rich every relationship is. The author deeply excavates all of the different bonds between the main character and h Oof, where to start with this incredible book? First of all, that climax scene! It actually made me gasp out loud. I felt all of the emotions in it and I just wanted to race through to the end to find out what happens next, but I forced myself to slow down so I could savor the story. This book has so much heart and humor. It’s a story about family and how complicated and layered and rich every relationship is. The author deeply excavates all of the different bonds between the main character and her family—her mother, her sisters, her dads. It’s sometimes painful, sometimes hilarious, but always poignant and touching. The setting is in part in America and partly in Taiwan, and both places come alive. I could feel the humidity in Taiwan and the smells of the food. Oh, the food! The descriptions drove me crazy! I felt like I knew all the places the characters went to, even though I have never been to Taiwan. Lastly, as an Asian reader, I felt that the cultural representative here was done with sensitivity and love. It’s definitely a book I am going to pass to my mom, as I know she’ll adore the family drama!

  2. 4 out of 5

    Elizabeth Everett

    Lyn Liao Butler’s debut novel, The Tiger Mom’s Tale is a fresh and engaging take on one woman’s reconciliation with her past, the complexities of women’s relationships with each other as family and found family, and the everyday experiences of Asian American women in this country today. The book follows the main character, Lexa, as she finds out that her estranged Taiwanese father has passed away. In his will, he gives her an ultimatum that will eventually send her from New York City to Taichung, Lyn Liao Butler’s debut novel, The Tiger Mom’s Tale is a fresh and engaging take on one woman’s reconciliation with her past, the complexities of women’s relationships with each other as family and found family, and the everyday experiences of Asian American women in this country today. The book follows the main character, Lexa, as she finds out that her estranged Taiwanese father has passed away. In his will, he gives her an ultimatum that will eventually send her from New York City to Taichung, setting her up for a confrontation that might finally put unresolved feelings about her father to rest. While the plot hinges on the actions of her father, it is Lexa’s relationships with the women in her life – her mother, her half-sisters, her stepmother, and her friends – that make this book so engaging. Butler does an amazing job of showing us the warp and weft of emotions and reactions that create the bindings between women. From her bemused enjoyment of her friend’s quirks to the fraught connections she has with her half-sisters (and the tension they have with each other) to the reluctant acceptance she shows for her mother’s choices, Lexa navigates a world that is full of bold women with strong personalities. The Tiger Mom’s Tale is a timely and skillfully penned meditation on the nature of families and the lengths that women will go to protect them and I highly recommend it.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Anita Kushwaha

    I fell in love with the voice and protagonist of this beautifully crafted story from the start! The writing is rich with description and emotion, and also infused with humor. The story touches on many challenging themes, such as identity, belonging, grief, loss, family secrets, and confronting one's past in order to move forward, and deals with them with insight and empathy. I loved the complex female relationships in the story, as well as the mouth-watering descriptions of food and how that con I fell in love with the voice and protagonist of this beautifully crafted story from the start! The writing is rich with description and emotion, and also infused with humor. The story touches on many challenging themes, such as identity, belonging, grief, loss, family secrets, and confronting one's past in order to move forward, and deals with them with insight and empathy. I loved the complex female relationships in the story, as well as the mouth-watering descriptions of food and how that connects to culture and memory. Lexa is a heroine that I was cheering on and feeling for as she went through her journey through loss and healing. There are also magical moments woven into the story that speak to the skill of the author. Once I started this book, I had trouble putting it down. I can't wait to see what's next for this talented debut author!

  4. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer Chow

    This book was soooo good. I loved the complexity with which Lyn Liao Butler draws the world where Lexa lives. All the characters are very intriguing. I admire how artfully the backstory and present timelines are woven together. I also really appreciate the difficult questions that Lexa reflects on and how they haunt her. This novel is very accurate in how it depicts reality, along with our fractured past and our current choices. The story constantly propelled me forward as I tried to figure out This book was soooo good. I loved the complexity with which Lyn Liao Butler draws the world where Lexa lives. All the characters are very intriguing. I admire how artfully the backstory and present timelines are woven together. I also really appreciate the difficult questions that Lexa reflects on and how they haunt her. This novel is very accurate in how it depicts reality, along with our fractured past and our current choices. The story constantly propelled me forward as I tried to figure out secrets from the past and tagged along on Lexa’s journey. As an added bonus, I’m grateful for all the elements of culture and identity found within this book. A must-read, moving journey of growth and character, imbued with warmth and authenticity.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Samantha Verant

    This book was perfect, brought on all the feels...and, honestly, it resonated with me on such a deep level. We''ll leave my personal story out of this review. I can say, however, the characters (all of them) ring true. And I feel so blessed to have received an early copy. There were so many things I loved-- especially the development of ALL of the major players. Family, food, secrets, lies– what a stunning debut!!! I inhaled the pages in one sitting and was sad to see it end. I need more, more, This book was perfect, brought on all the feels...and, honestly, it resonated with me on such a deep level. We''ll leave my personal story out of this review. I can say, however, the characters (all of them) ring true. And I feel so blessed to have received an early copy. There were so many things I loved-- especially the development of ALL of the major players. Family, food, secrets, lies– what a stunning debut!!! I inhaled the pages in one sitting and was sad to see it end. I need more, more, more! (I also want Ah-Ma's dumplings. Now.)

  6. 4 out of 5

    Tracey

    I love stories about complicated families, and this book did NOT disappoint. There were so many secrets and misunderstandings, and although I hated a couple of the characters, I appreciated how we were given their points of view so we could understand where they were coming from. I tore through this book, because I needed to know Lexa was going to be okay. As a bonus, the descriptions of Taiwan were amazing and made me miss traveling. And the food! Prepare to be hungry while you feel all the emo I love stories about complicated families, and this book did NOT disappoint. There were so many secrets and misunderstandings, and although I hated a couple of the characters, I appreciated how we were given their points of view so we could understand where they were coming from. I tore through this book, because I needed to know Lexa was going to be okay. As a bonus, the descriptions of Taiwan were amazing and made me miss traveling. And the food! Prepare to be hungry while you feel all the emotions.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Eileen

    A great story that is well written. It sucks you in and you won’t be able to put it down. The characters are relatable and the descriptions make you feel like you are right there with them. Great insight to the Taiwanese culture. I can’t wait to read her next book!

  8. 5 out of 5

    Kristin Rockaway

    THE TIGER MOM'S TALE is a breathtaking debut from a compelling new voice in women's fiction. With captivating characters and vivid descriptions of mouth-watering meals, Lyn Liao Butler whisks us from the bright lights of New York City to the bustle of Taichung. A story of belonging, betrayal, and the bonds between family that can never be broken, THE TIGER MOM'S TALE is a deeply emotional and satisfying read. THE TIGER MOM'S TALE is a breathtaking debut from a compelling new voice in women's fiction. With captivating characters and vivid descriptions of mouth-watering meals, Lyn Liao Butler whisks us from the bright lights of New York City to the bustle of Taichung. A story of belonging, betrayal, and the bonds between family that can never be broken, THE TIGER MOM'S TALE is a deeply emotional and satisfying read.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Allison Ashley

    While I could go on for days about the visceral descriptions of delicious food and vivid settings where it felt as if I was there, The Tiger Mom’s Tale is ultimately a story about love—between sisters, parents, and children. And because I primarily read romance, a wonderful touch of romantic love, too. From early in the book, secret family events from the past are hinted at and all I wanted was to know what happened and how that shaped Lexa to the woman she is today. The heroine is so incredibly While I could go on for days about the visceral descriptions of delicious food and vivid settings where it felt as if I was there, The Tiger Mom’s Tale is ultimately a story about love—between sisters, parents, and children. And because I primarily read romance, a wonderful touch of romantic love, too. From early in the book, secret family events from the past are hinted at and all I wanted was to know what happened and how that shaped Lexa to the woman she is today. The heroine is so incredibly relatable from her dedication to her job to her loyalty to her family and friends, and she’s inspiringly positive and navigates life with joy and humor despite what happened to her all those years ago. Multiple points of view enrich the story and the author seamlessly portrays multiple perspectives to highlight the lengths people will go to achieve what they want. I devoured this book in two days and can’t wait to read more from this author!

  10. 4 out of 5

    Eliza Brazier

    They say every family has secrets but the characters in TIGER MOM’S TALE have more than a few. But they pair them with food, love and humor. I adored this book from @lynliaobutler who is definitely one to watch! 5 out of 5 Elizas.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Michelle

    This is the perfect book for you if you like sister stories, complicated family dynamics in modern blended families, dark family secrets, and lush descriptions of culture and food. In the first two chapters, Lexa’s mom leaves her stepdad for another woman, and then her Taiwanese bio dad dies, leaving behind many unanswered questions about the Thing No One Talks About that led to Lexa not seeing her Taiwanese dad and half sister for many years. I loved the descriptions of Taiwanese culture and fo This is the perfect book for you if you like sister stories, complicated family dynamics in modern blended families, dark family secrets, and lush descriptions of culture and food. In the first two chapters, Lexa’s mom leaves her stepdad for another woman, and then her Taiwanese bio dad dies, leaving behind many unanswered questions about the Thing No One Talks About that led to Lexa not seeing her Taiwanese dad and half sister for many years. I loved the descriptions of Taiwanese culture and food (I want to eat EVERYTHING in this book) and liked how many different personalities and lifestyles were represented amongst the big cast of characters in the book. I loved seeing the sisters all come together at the end!

  12. 5 out of 5

    Christine

    I devoured this book in a couple of days. The family love and dynamics are so complicated and genuine, they make the characters whole and real. The Taiwanese scenes are vivid and colorful, and the author's portrayal of the city and people through the eyes of a young woman was perfect for a reader who's never been there. It's like we are visiting for the first time along with the main character. Great pacing, hilarious dialogue and authentic characters make this book a home run. This is a warm, fu I devoured this book in a couple of days. The family love and dynamics are so complicated and genuine, they make the characters whole and real. The Taiwanese scenes are vivid and colorful, and the author's portrayal of the city and people through the eyes of a young woman was perfect for a reader who's never been there. It's like we are visiting for the first time along with the main character. Great pacing, hilarious dialogue and authentic characters make this book a home run. This is a warm, funny, poignant, and delicious book. I can't wait to read more from this author.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Kate Lansing

    I can't gush enough about this book!! Lexa was such a compelling main character and I really felt how torn she was between her American and Taiwanese heritages. The relationships felt very real and were all so richly layered. The story unfolds in dual timelines which amped up the tension, especially as the truth of Lexa's estrangement from her father is revealed. And the ending was so satisfying it brought a tear to my eye. Full of heart, humor, and mouth-watering food descriptions, this debut is I can't gush enough about this book!! Lexa was such a compelling main character and I really felt how torn she was between her American and Taiwanese heritages. The relationships felt very real and were all so richly layered. The story unfolds in dual timelines which amped up the tension, especially as the truth of Lexa's estrangement from her father is revealed. And the ending was so satisfying it brought a tear to my eye. Full of heart, humor, and mouth-watering food descriptions, this debut is not to be missed!

  14. 4 out of 5

    Saumya Dave

    Touching, heartfelt, and humorous all at once. I loved the journey of both self-discovery and family love. It was equal parts intriguing and relateable. This author is one of my new favorites and I can't wait to see what she writes next! Touching, heartfelt, and humorous all at once. I loved the journey of both self-discovery and family love. It was equal parts intriguing and relateable. This author is one of my new favorites and I can't wait to see what she writes next!

  15. 4 out of 5

    Olivia Blacke

    THE TIGER MOM'S TALE is compelling storytelling at its finest. It isn't often that I read a book in a single sitting and yet that's exactly what I just did. This novel is beautiful - rich settings, complicated families, and so much food. Seriously, I thought *my* family was tricky but nothing holds a candle to Lexa's American or Taiwanese family, much less how she is caught in the middle of two worlds. Each and every character is artfully layered. While some characters purposefully come off as sel THE TIGER MOM'S TALE is compelling storytelling at its finest. It isn't often that I read a book in a single sitting and yet that's exactly what I just did. This novel is beautiful - rich settings, complicated families, and so much food. Seriously, I thought *my* family was tricky but nothing holds a candle to Lexa's American or Taiwanese family, much less how she is caught in the middle of two worlds. Each and every character is artfully layered. While some characters purposefully come off as selfish and unlikable initially are redeemed, there's one character in particular I'm just gonna sit here and dislike. Oh, I'd be remiss if I didn't mention how much I love Lexa's rescue rottie because he's the best! The story unfolds across multiple timelines and time zones, and uses language and location brilliantly. I'm gonna be thinking about this book for a while!

  16. 4 out of 5

    Amanda Jayatissa

    This book made me laugh and it made me cry. Heartwarming and intriguing, I really enjoyed Lexa’s journey of acceptance and understanding. You’ll enjoy this book if you like stories about family ties, the tug of being caught between two cultures, and mouth-watering depictions of food. I only wanted to put this book down to rush out to a Taiwanese restaurant but Lexa’s story had me so hooked that of course, that never happened. Lyn Liao Butler’s writing was effortlessly beautiful, and I can’t wait This book made me laugh and it made me cry. Heartwarming and intriguing, I really enjoyed Lexa’s journey of acceptance and understanding. You’ll enjoy this book if you like stories about family ties, the tug of being caught between two cultures, and mouth-watering depictions of food. I only wanted to put this book down to rush out to a Taiwanese restaurant but Lexa’s story had me so hooked that of course, that never happened. Lyn Liao Butler’s writing was effortlessly beautiful, and I can’t wait to read what she writes next.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Elizabeth Gonzalez

    What a fantastic escape of a book! It was witty and poignant, sweet and sassy, and gave an endearing picture of a young woman caught between two cultures - her American family, and her Taiwanese one. With dexterity the author paints a charming portrait of modern dating, sisterhood, and feeling like an outsider. And omg the food! I want to eat everything she describes in this book. A perfect beach read!

  18. 4 out of 5

    Barbara

    This is a story of a spunky, much-loved heroine who has let her past pain drive her present. A hip trainer in NYC, Lexie is beautiful, smart, and a popular trainer devoted to her clients. Lexie's American family is going through major transitions. Her mother announces she has left her husband for another woman.. While adjusting, Lexie learns that her real Taiwanese father who she hasn't seen in 20 plus years has died tragically, that she plays a major role in his will, and that her 1/2 sister fr This is a story of a spunky, much-loved heroine who has let her past pain drive her present. A hip trainer in NYC, Lexie is beautiful, smart, and a popular trainer devoted to her clients. Lexie's American family is going through major transitions. Her mother announces she has left her husband for another woman.. While adjusting, Lexie learns that her real Taiwanese father who she hasn't seen in 20 plus years has died tragically, that she plays a major role in his will, and that her 1/2 sister from Taiwan is coming to NYC to discuss the secretive will. Meanwhile, her American sister, Mattie, is acting like a brat and won't talk to her mother or her new partner. In the midst of this, Lexie has found a man she adores but who wants children, which she doesn't see in her future plans. As the story progresses, we learn why Lexie rejected her Tawainese heritage at age 14 and the hurt and betrayal that deeply scarred her, We also learn how she used her gift of Kung Fu for healing. Finally, after spending time with her Tawainese sister, Lexie decides she must go to Tawain to make things right. Her braveness - and the mistakes and courage of others - leads her to adjust her priorities and learn about herself and her heritage. This is a quick, enjoyable read that was hard to put down. I highly recommend it and would give it 4..5 stars.

  19. 5 out of 5

    India Holton

    This beautiful, richly written book is such a joy to read. Right from its wonderfully engaging first sentence we are deftly led through a complex, thoughtful story with humour, authentic characters, and evocative descriptions, to the fulfilling end. Past interweaves with present in a way which captures the heart and adds deep layers to the story's poignancy. The last scene made me catch my breath. And then of course there's the food! Highly recommended. This beautiful, richly written book is such a joy to read. Right from its wonderfully engaging first sentence we are deftly led through a complex, thoughtful story with humour, authentic characters, and evocative descriptions, to the fulfilling end. Past interweaves with present in a way which captures the heart and adds deep layers to the story's poignancy. The last scene made me catch my breath. And then of course there's the food! Highly recommended.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Vianne

    Upon hearing the premise of this book, it instantly became one of my most anticipated releases of the year. I mean, a biracial Taiwanese-American woman reclaiming her heritage and getting caught up in a web of family secrets? What could go wrong? A lot, apparently, because The Tiger Mom's Tale was hands down the worst book I have read so far this year. Starting off with what few positives there were, I think this book includes some important topics such as ableism, the fetishization of Asian wome Upon hearing the premise of this book, it instantly became one of my most anticipated releases of the year. I mean, a biracial Taiwanese-American woman reclaiming her heritage and getting caught up in a web of family secrets? What could go wrong? A lot, apparently, because The Tiger Mom's Tale was hands down the worst book I have read so far this year. Starting off with what few positives there were, I think this book includes some important topics such as ableism, the fetishization of Asian women, and the struggles of belonging faced by biracial individuals. However, the way these topics were discussed was severely lacking and, when combined with the other aspects of this book, left a sour taste in my mouth. Even though I was super excited to dive into this book, from the first page, something just felt off. The book kicks off with the main character, Lexa, finding out that her mother has left her dad for a woman. While Lexa does become generally accepting of her mother's new relationship, the same cannot be said for her sister Maddie, who completely refuses to acknowledge their mother's girlfriend. While I can completely understand that hearing that your parents are splitting up is upsetting to hear, the way Maddie reacted and behaved throughout the book just felt vaguely homophobic. In addition, it also became very clear to me from the beginning that the writing style in this book was not for me. I don't want to say it was bad per se, but it was just... very mediocre and the dialogue was also EXTREMELY cringy. Another thing that started early on in the book and bugged me throughout was the lowkey fatphobic remarks that are thrown around and never addressed or challenged. Lexa is a personal trainer, and while I guess I imagine it's realistic, some of the things both she and her clients say and think just felt kind of icky to me. Despite a rocky start, I continued on with the book because I wanted to give it a fair chance. It did not get better. I think the main thing that this book suffered from was that it tried to do too much, which made it impossible for me to connect with...anything. On the surface, Lexa and I have a lot in common. Aside from being Taiwanese but living in North America, her Taiwanese family is from Taichung and their last name is Chang (same as me! which I was very excited to find out). I went into this book ready to fall in love with her, and I just didn't. There were also far too many side characters that weren't fleshed out and who I just didn't care about. I hated Maddie with a burning passion, didn't care about Lexa's love interest or her mom or her mom's girlfriend or her dad or her other dad, and the handful of Lexa's friends we meet were forgettable and didn't add to the story. We are also introduced to a bunch of Lexa's clients and none of their stories were interesting to me in the slightest. As for the story, the main plot is Lexa uncovering a bunch of family secrets and us learning about why she has not returned to Taiwan since a trip when she was 14. It's told in alternating timelines, which I actually thought was alright as it kept me invested in the story. However, there are also like 20 different subplots that just gave me whiplash to read about and that I also DID NOT CARE ABOUT. I won't go into them because of spoilers but it was lowkey impressive how these subplots were simultaneously overwhelming and also did not add to the characters or the story at all. Some other things that bugged me because I've run out of brainpower to write things in coherent paragraphs: - The mandarin dialogue that was present in this book felt very clunky and not like how Taiwanese people speak, at least from my experiences - There were some weird age gap-ish relationships that were just there...for no reason...and not addressed? for WHY? - Lexa refers to herself as Chinese, saying wo shi zhongguo ren, which is not inherently an issue but it was just weird seeing a Taiwanese character refer to herself that way - At one point there is mention of Lexa's mom "changing her sexual orientation" which is... not a great way of describing the situation - At the end, a big bad thing happens and the person that does the big bad thing and has been doing big bad things throughout the book is forgiven WAY too easily The only thing I enjoyed about this book was Ah-ma (who we did not see nearly enough of). Even the food descriptions were underwhelming. Needless to say, I really wouldn't recommend this book to anyone and am very sad that this book didn't work for me as I was highly anticipating this release by a Taiwanese-American author. eARC provided by publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review, thanks!

  21. 5 out of 5

    Jess Nystrom

    I loved everything about this story! Lexa is such a relatable, vivid character and I was so immersed into her story that once I picked it up, I didn't want to put it down. I loved everything about this story! Lexa is such a relatable, vivid character and I was so immersed into her story that once I picked it up, I didn't want to put it down.

  22. 5 out of 5

    MicheleReader

    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 secret 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 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 secret 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 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 to me 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. 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. Review posted on MicheleReader.com.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Sherwood Smith

    This is a structurally complicated book, especially for a debut novel. I was impressed by how much story Butler managed to pack in, as our heroine, who is half white, half Asian, has to not only navigate between these two cultures, but on top of that she must deal with a family breakup that created silence for the crucial years of her growing up. The terms of a will draw her back to Taiwan, which otherwise she never wanted to see again. Along the way on her trip we meet family members (including This is a structurally complicated book, especially for a debut novel. I was impressed by how much story Butler managed to pack in, as our heroine, who is half white, half Asian, has to not only navigate between these two cultures, but on top of that she must deal with a family breakup that created silence for the crucial years of her growing up. The terms of a will draw her back to Taiwan, which otherwise she never wanted to see again. Along the way on her trip we meet family members (including her two very different half-sisters), elders as well as peers, and a reintroduction to Taiwan. Oh, and there is romance! I got really involved in the story, though I had some misgivings, mostly centered on a pivotal character whose one-dimensional nastiness might edge a bit too close to stereotype. Especially given the title. (view spoiler)[(And was given an easy pass at the end, without us every truly understanding how the character got to be so Eeevil.) (hide spoiler)] But the other characters make up for it, the food descriptions are delicious, and the glimpses of Taiwan were intriguing. I was impressed overall by this debut novel, and look forward to more from this author. Copy provided by NetGalley

  24. 5 out of 5

    Zoe Pointer

    First and foremost, thank you to NetGalley and everyone at Penguin Random House for gifting me access to this online ARC! Upon reading the blurb for this book, I was excited. A story of Lexa, a biracial woman reconnecting with her Taiwanese identity? An exploration of her not feeling Asian enough in certain spaces, and not white enough in others? Those feelings sounded all too familiar to me, and I was anxious to read a book that dove into such hard-to-communicate themes. That being said, this st First and foremost, thank you to NetGalley and everyone at Penguin Random House for gifting me access to this online ARC! Upon reading the blurb for this book, I was excited. A story of Lexa, a biracial woman reconnecting with her Taiwanese identity? An exploration of her not feeling Asian enough in certain spaces, and not white enough in others? Those feelings sounded all too familiar to me, and I was anxious to read a book that dove into such hard-to-communicate themes. That being said, this story fell drastically short. This book felt disorganized. Plot points were consistently shoved into the story, seemingly to make the characters more three-dimensional, but only really served to dilute the overall message of the book. The dialogue between any and all characters was distractedly unrealistic; I found myself consistently pausing to push through dialogue that was either overloaded with cliches or completely bizarre in its structure. What two people have a conversation over dinner that starts with small talk about work, devolves into a question about wanting children, then becomes a spontaneous discussion about experiencing a personal death (all within less than 2 pages)? Additionally, I really fear how the stereotypes portrayed in this book will translate to readers not of Asian descent. The "Tiger Mom" trope can be damaging, even more so when the Tiger Moms shown in books aren't just strict mothers with expectations, but are fully unhinged, vindictive, and violent characters. Tiger Mom doesn't automatically correlate with abusive, and that distinction needs to be made more clear than it was here. Overall, I appreciated what Lyn Liao Butler was trying to do with this story. After reading her author bio, the pieces of herself that she intertwined into this book are clear, and I think more stories about feeling out-of-place in one's own identity need to be published and widely read. This being said, this story needed work. The main point of the book - re-accepting one's own identity after years of shoving it away - should have been more clearly center stage than it was. The plot twists added to shock readers to add depth to a situation were certainly dramatic, but often hinged on being completely inappropriate: a family drama can be dramatic without veering so far from reality. Cheesy dialogue doesn't need to be added at every turn. I wish I had liked this more, but I have no doubt that there is an audience anxious to get their hands on this book.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer Klepper

    Can. Not. Wait. For. This. Book.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Elena L.

    "You have to face the past in order to confront the future." THE TIGER MOM'S TALE centers around Lexa Thomas, a biracial woman who used to visit her Taiwanese father as a child. However something happened in a fateful summer in Taiwan and she stopped being in contact with him. When her father unexpectedly dies, she has to travel back to Taiwan and confront the events of the past. The story is mainly about Lexa's journey to claim her Taiwanese heritage - being biracial, she often feels not Asian "You have to face the past in order to confront the future." THE TIGER MOM'S TALE centers around Lexa Thomas, a biracial woman who used to visit her Taiwanese father as a child. However something happened in a fateful summer in Taiwan and she stopped being in contact with him. When her father unexpectedly dies, she has to travel back to Taiwan and confront the events of the past. The story is mainly about Lexa's journey to claim her Taiwanese heritage - being biracial, she often feels not Asian nor American enough. I thought that Butler captures in an authentic way her struggles with identity and belonging. My favorite parts are definitely her time in Taiwan, with accurate cultural elements shining through the pages: it's impressive how the food, which is mentioned throughout the story, can bring back (sweet) memories and comfort us (niurou mien, tian bu la, tai yang bing, rou geng, stinky tofu, bao bing, turnip cake, bubble tea...); allied with well-known places such as Sun Moon lake, night market and original bubble teahouse in Taichung. The fact that her relatives keep offering food as an act of love and care just reminded me of my own experiences, in addition to "anything goes here in Taiwan when it comes to traffic rules" is so true to reality. There's even a typical Taiwanese tiger mom, who is strict, demands perfect scores and requires full days of supplementary learning classes. It was heartwarming to read Lexa's family traditions/superstition which hit so close to home. The queer representation in this novel is appreciated since this is a theme quite taboo in Taiwanese culture. By touching on fetishization of Asian women, whiteness and disability, the story is multilayered without being overly dense. Shifting between past and present, as the secrets from the past are unfolded, the plot grabs the reader and doesn't let us go. Both storyline and characters were well-crafted and what intrigued me the most was the emotional letter. While Lexa's (personal trainer) conversations with her clients weren't the most interesting, I still found them dynamic and therapeutic, adding a lighter tone to the plot. The ending might seem too nicely wrapped up for some readers yet I personally enjoyed it. With fluid prose, THE TIGER MOM'S TALE is a family drama packed with betrayals and intrigues but also warmth and insights to Taiwanese culture. I can't believe that this is a debut and this book is everything and more than I had expected. I want everyone to read it! [ I received an eARC from the publisher - Berkley - in exchange for an honest review ]

  27. 4 out of 5

    Lainey Cameron

    What a fun endearing read! Seriously, what’s not to love? A dive into a different culture, a gutsy heroine who wants to reclaim her family and cultural identity, travel through food and to Taiwan, and a touch of romance. I loved the complexity and layers that the author built into the novel. Over the first half I learned to love Lexa, a personal trainer who is comfortable in her life in New York, but has never gotten past the estrangement from her birth father and family in Taiwan. I gasped out lo What a fun endearing read! Seriously, what’s not to love? A dive into a different culture, a gutsy heroine who wants to reclaim her family and cultural identity, travel through food and to Taiwan, and a touch of romance. I loved the complexity and layers that the author built into the novel. Over the first half I learned to love Lexa, a personal trainer who is comfortable in her life in New York, but has never gotten past the estrangement from her birth father and family in Taiwan. I gasped out loud at one moment in this book – about half way through when Lexa, the heroine reads a letter that sets up an undeniable choice; return to Taiwan to save the family she’s estranged from, or stay in her comfortable US life. A beautiful fun and uplifting story of a family torn apart- a reminder that family can make us who we are – but also let– down and cause pain. But mostly a remembrance of the beauty, warmth, and universality of family ties, across continents and cultures. This novel left me wanting to hear more from Lexa, and dying to visit Taiwan, drink bubble tea and eat sesame balls. If you love to travel through books and enjoy books packed with food, family, friends, love, and secrets, this one’s for you! I can’t wait for Lyn’s second book – already scheduled for 2022 apparently!

  28. 4 out of 5

    Sarah Adlakha

    Lexa is a half white/half Taiwanese American woman who was raised by her white mother and her white adoptive/step father. She has two half sisters - one white and one Taiwanese - and when her Taiwanese birth father unexpectedly dies, we are brought along on her journey back to Taiwan to claim what has been left for her. On the journey, the author takes us through Lexa's history with her Taiwanese father, whom she had only seen on a few occasions, as well as her Taiwanese half sister. This is qui Lexa is a half white/half Taiwanese American woman who was raised by her white mother and her white adoptive/step father. She has two half sisters - one white and one Taiwanese - and when her Taiwanese birth father unexpectedly dies, we are brought along on her journey back to Taiwan to claim what has been left for her. On the journey, the author takes us through Lexa's history with her Taiwanese father, whom she had only seen on a few occasions, as well as her Taiwanese half sister. This is quite a captivating debut. Lyn Liao Butler does a tremendous job with character development, and I really appreciated the nuances of the relationships between Lexa and her family. Let's start with her adoptive father. I absolutely loved the complexity of this relationship. I adored his selflessness and pure love for both of his daughters, but especially for Lexa. Then the two sisters - the tension between Lexa's two half sisters, each pulling her in a different direction, is palpable, and the jealousy between them visceral and so realistic. I really enjoyed the banter between them, as well as the struggle her white sister had with their mother's new relationship after leaving their father. I think the most enjoyable part of the novel for me was the time spent in Taiwan. Food descriptions will leave your mouth watering, and the heart wrenching revelations and decisions that are a part of Lexa's journey will leave you eager for Butler's next novel. She is certainly an author to watch.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer Schultz

    Read if you: Want a sensitively-drawn "new adult" title about a young woman coming to terms with her estranged Taiwanese family after her father dies. Librarians/booksellers: Although this covers serious topics like family estrangement and cultural identity, it's a great pick for readers who want a light read with depth. The food descriptions are scrumptious! Many thanks to Berkley Publishing Group and NetGalley for a digital review copy in exchange for an honest review. Read if you: Want a sensitively-drawn "new adult" title about a young woman coming to terms with her estranged Taiwanese family after her father dies. Librarians/booksellers: Although this covers serious topics like family estrangement and cultural identity, it's a great pick for readers who want a light read with depth. The food descriptions are scrumptious! Many thanks to Berkley Publishing Group and NetGalley for a digital review copy in exchange for an honest review.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Lyn Butler

    I wrote this book from my experiences as a Taiwanese-American, growing up looking Asian on the outside but feeling American on the inside. But it is only one perspective, which is why it's so important to have more Asian-American experiences represented. Thank you for supporting AAPI authors. Whether you liked it or not, thank you for reading and discussing! I wrote this book from my experiences as a Taiwanese-American, growing up looking Asian on the outside but feeling American on the inside. But it is only one perspective, which is why it's so important to have more Asian-American experiences represented. Thank you for supporting AAPI authors. Whether you liked it or not, thank you for reading and discussing!

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