Crying in H Mart by Michelle Zauner
Grab the closest box of tissues, your favorite cozy drink, and prepare to unload yourself emotionally during this amazing rumination on grief and loss.
With deft use of humor and heart, Zauner, traces her beginnings as a Korean-American growing up in Eugene, Oregon with a Korean mom and white father to the death of her mother from pancreatic cancer.
Crying in H-Mart feels like the it book right now. It has been popping up all over the place and after finally reading it myself, I completely understand why. Using the death of her mother as the starting place, she captures the uniqueness of growing up in the Pacific Northwest with an immigrant mother and white father. As Zauner describes it, her relationship with her mother was fraught with tension growing up, but the one connection that remained true was their love of food, but specifically Korean food. Picking this book up immediately transports you into her world. Zauner is a truly impressive writer, and you can't help but become immersed in her story.
While the entire book is truly outstanding, I particularly enjoyed the moments where Zauner talks about her trips to South Korea with her mother. Her vivid recollections of her grandmother, mother, and aunt gambling, eating, and sharing their stories is a truly magical moment.
“Hers was tougher than tough love. It was brutal, industrial-strength. A sinewy love that never gave way to an inch of weakness. It was a love that saw what was best for you ten steps ahead, and didn't care if it hurt like hell in the meantime. When I got hurt, she felt it so deeply, it was as though it were her own affliction. She was guilty only of caring too much. I realize this now, only in retrospect. No one in this would would ever love me as much as my mother, and she would never let me forget it.” -Crying in H Mart
I really can't recommend this memoir enough and I think it is likely to remain favorite throughout the year. It stacks up against some of my favorite memoirs from the last several years, just be prepared to cry.
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