Realization: Amy Chua isn't the classic Tiger Mom.
Despite introducing the phrase into the American lexicon, and despite her daily crackdowns echoing the tactics of a fascist police state (Franco's Spain, for instance, or UC Davis in 2012), Chua interacts with her kids in a loving, American way. She has a close relationship with her two daughters that even includes "snuggling." In contrast, there are apparently many Asian parents who don't even hug their children!? (This no-hugging phenomenon still boggles my mind. I'm looking at you, GC and JH.)
The thing to remember is that Chua is actually the *child* of the classic Tiger Mom. She is of *our* generation, the first ABC in the family. As I've noted before, that's why her book speaks to Asian Americans. She's so on point, conveying precisely the ideas we're thinking and the emotions we're feeling, because she's one of us.
She does a great job playing a Tiger Mom -- out of personal conviction, as a sociological exploration, or perhaps out of humor. But the reason she can be so incisive and analytical in communicating the experience is because she's actually the first Tiger Cub.
I thought of this issue again, because I just read a blog post by Sophia, Chua's elder daughter. http://tigersophia.blogspot.com/2012/07/they-are-not-what-you-think-they-are.html