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Crying in H Mart: A Memoir

by Michelle Zauner

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2,173837,022 (4.01)77
"From the indie rockstar of Japanese Breakfast fame, and author of the viral 2018 New Yorker essay that shares the title of this book, an unflinching, powerful memoir about growing up Korean-American, losing her mother, and forging her own identity. In this exquisite story of family, food, grief, and endurance, Michelle Zauner proves herself far more than a dazzling singer, songwriter, and guitarist. With humor and heart, she tells of growing up the only Asian-American kid at her school in Eugene, Oregon; of struggling with her mother's particular, high expectations of her; of a painful adolescence (; of treasured months spent in her grandmother's tiny apartment in Seoul, where she and her mother would bond, late at night, over heaping plates of food. As she grew up, moving to the east coast for college, finding work in the restaurant industry, performing gigs with her fledgling band--and meeting the man who would become her husband--her Koreanness began to feel ever more distant, even as she found the life she wanted to live. It was her mother's diagnosis of terminal pancreatic cancer, when Michelle was twenty-five, that forced a reckoning with her identity and brought her to reclaim the gifts of taste, language, and history her mother had given her. Vivacious and plainspoken, lyrical and honest, Michelle Zauner's voice is as radiantly alive on the page as it is onstage. Rich with intimate anecdotes that will resonate widely, and complete with family photos, Crying in H Mart is a book to cherish, share, and reread"--… (more)
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    charl08: Both foodie memoirs with a strong theme of grief, loss and the role food plays in memory and family.
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» See also 77 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 83 (next | show all)
I'll admit it - I did not expect this book to be so depressing. I know the synopsis mentions her mother's terminal cancer diagnosis, but that event and those that followed are really the core of the book. Even in looking back at her childhood, all experiences seem linked to her relationship with her mother, and her struggles to come to terms with the fact that their relationship will come to an end sooner than any of them suspected. So yeah, of course that's all very heavy and depressing. But the way Michelle writes about her childhood, her relationship, her mother's experience with cancer is just so personal and forthcoming that it made the story more painful to read. I almost felt like someone I know was telling me about their experience.

There are some funny moments and plenty of talk of food and music, but if you're already feeling down, be warned; this is not a light read. Despite that, I flew through it, mostly in one sitting. Even though the content is heavy, Michelle's tone is engaging. If it matters, I've only heard one song of hers and that was after I'd already purchased the book - so you don't need any prior knowledge of her music career to connect with her story. It probably deepens it if you do, however - I know my partner is more familiar with her work and mentioned that some of her songs deal with her mother.

Anyway, if you're into memoirs, whether or not you're familiar with the person writing it, I definitely suggest this one. ( )
  MillieHennessy | Nov 28, 2023 |
Zauner writes about her relationship with her mother and her mother's diagnosis and death from cancer. Korean food and culture permeate this book as Zauner's mother tries to teach her half-Korean daughter all she can about her Korean roots. ( )
  mojomomma | Nov 26, 2023 |
Vivid and moving. ( )
  decaturmamaof2 | Nov 22, 2023 |
Normally I don’t read memoirs but damn this book struck so many cords with me. ( )
  clstrifes | Nov 10, 2023 |
Beautiful and heart wrenching. I always appreciate a complicated mother daughter bond, and this one is excellent and relatable. ( )
  embly | Nov 4, 2023 |
Showing 1-5 of 83 (next | show all)
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엄마
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Ever since my mom died, I cry in H Mart.
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"From the indie rockstar of Japanese Breakfast fame, and author of the viral 2018 New Yorker essay that shares the title of this book, an unflinching, powerful memoir about growing up Korean-American, losing her mother, and forging her own identity. In this exquisite story of family, food, grief, and endurance, Michelle Zauner proves herself far more than a dazzling singer, songwriter, and guitarist. With humor and heart, she tells of growing up the only Asian-American kid at her school in Eugene, Oregon; of struggling with her mother's particular, high expectations of her; of a painful adolescence (; of treasured months spent in her grandmother's tiny apartment in Seoul, where she and her mother would bond, late at night, over heaping plates of food. As she grew up, moving to the east coast for college, finding work in the restaurant industry, performing gigs with her fledgling band--and meeting the man who would become her husband--her Koreanness began to feel ever more distant, even as she found the life she wanted to live. It was her mother's diagnosis of terminal pancreatic cancer, when Michelle was twenty-five, that forced a reckoning with her identity and brought her to reclaim the gifts of taste, language, and history her mother had given her. Vivacious and plainspoken, lyrical and honest, Michelle Zauner's voice is as radiantly alive on the page as it is onstage. Rich with intimate anecdotes that will resonate widely, and complete with family photos, Crying in H Mart is a book to cherish, share, and reread"--

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