Crying in H Mart by Michelle Zauner #review

Book cover of Crying in H Mart by Michelle Zauner

Title: Crying in H Mart
Michelle Zauner
Publisher: Picador


In this exquisite story of family, food, grief, and endurance, Michelle Zauner proves herself far more than a dazzling singer, songwriter, and guitarist. With humour 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, 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, Crying in H Mart is a book to cherish, share, and reread.

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My review:

Wow, what an emotional, absorbing read Crying in H Mart is.

Michelle Zauner’s mother was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer when Michelle was in her early 20s. Crying in H Mart takes us through Michelle’s childhood, growing up as an American-Korean, her relationship with her family, and the importance of food in Michelle and her mother’s lives – and food plays a key part throughout Michelle’s life. We see how Michelle and her family deal with the devastating news that her mother’s treatment is not working, and Michelle’s life without her.

Crying in H Mart is devastating, heartbreaking, and intense, and I found myself having to put it down completely at one point to avoid crying my eyes out on a packed train. What else can I say but prepare yourself for this one – it’ll wring you out emotionally but it’s so worth it.

My rating: 4/5


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