The Joy Luck Club experience of having a very strict Chinese mother does not really reflect my personal experience, but for some people it does.
Amy Chua writes about her kids in the WSJ, Why Chinese Mothers Are Superior:
A lot of people wonder how Chinese parents raise such stereotypically successful kids. They wonder what these parents do to produce so many math whizzes and music prodigies, what it’s like inside the family, and whether they could do it too. Well, I can tell them, because I’ve done it.
Jean Hsu does not look on her upbringing in a first-generation family so fondly:
My parents were certainly influenced by Chinese traditions, but they thankfully they did not socialize with that many Asian families, and I was mostly spared the experience Amy Chua describes. Some parts stay with me though. My parents, like most Asian parents, were always critical about physical appearance and weight, and though “well-intentioned,” the criticism always stung. Amy says that the kids don’t take it personally, but I know that I did, and will always remember those occasions when they were too strict or too critical.
Hacker News has some more discussion on the topic as well.