Parents' Guide to

Tiger Daughter

By JK Sooja, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 12+

Scary, abusive father in frustrating, heartbreaking tale.

Tiger Daughter book cover: Asian Australian girl in blue coat with long black hair and eyes closed wears yellow backpack centered on white graph paper with notebook holes on left

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There's a lot to admire about the bravery involved in telling a story like this. Tiger Daughter's main messages of hope and continuing to try no matter what come through amidst the constant bombardment of the abusive father's behavior. Without its hopeful ending, however, this middle grade novel might just be too heavy for many readers. Indeed, 90 percent of this story is spent under the father's reign of emotional, psychological, and occasional physical abuse, which is all very draining and very sad. This is an emotionally dark read, even if in the last few pages there is reason to hope for a happier life for Wen and her mother.

On top of all this, there's a brutal suicide, the difficult aftermath, and the near constant danger of Wen's father frequently almost catching Wen and her mother trying to help the family affected by the suicide. Throw in some danger of strangers stalking a girl through dark streets, racial slurs slung at Chinese Australians, and the possibility of some of these character representations reinforcing damaging stereotypes about Chinese Australian people, this book has its drawbacks. However, its messages are ultimately positive and the daughter at the center is a strong lead who manages to survive and get out from under the abuse of her father. Readers who relate to aspects of Wen or Henry's life will especially find comfort in their resilience.

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