TITLE: Crying in H Mart by Michelle Zauner
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Kindle Edition: 256 pages
Published: April 20th 2021 by Knopf Publishing
Blurb: A memoir about growing up Korean American, losing her mother, and forging her own identity.
Michelle Zauner tells of growing up one of the few Asian American kids 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, and 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 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.
This book was pretty depressing but I understand it must have been cathartic for the author Michelle Zauner to write this book. As a child of immigrants, I did empathize with the feeling of being not quite fully one race. I also enjoyed how she came to have a new understanding of her mother as an adult. Food is one of the things that really defines a culture, so I could see how a shared love of Korean food was a bonding experience between the mother and daughter.
I wish there had been a little more about how the parents relationship evolved, more about her relationship with her dad and also with her husband.
The painful personal journey pertaining to cancer, the effusive amount of pages devoted to food and just the overall tone of this book made it too tough for me to enjoy as the first bookclub read of the year.