Select language, opens an overlay
Crying in H Mart

Crying in H Mart

A Memoir

Book - 2021
Average Rating:
Rate this:
7
Zauner, of indie band Japanese Breakfast, presents a memoir about growing up Korean-American, losing her mother, and forging her own identity. She tells of growing up the only Asian-American kid at her school in Eugene, Oregon; of struggling with her mother's 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 over heaping plates of food. As she grew up, her Koreanness began to feel ever more distant, even as she found the life she wanted to live. Her mother's diagnosis of terminal pancreatic cancer when Michelle was twenty-five forced a reckoning with her identity and brought her to reclaim the gifts of taste, language, and history her mother had given her.
"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"-- Provided by publisher.
Publisher: New York : Alfred A. Knopf, 2021.
ISBN: 9780525657743
0525657746
Branch Call Number: B ZAUNER, M.
Characteristics: 256 pages : illustrations ; 21 cm

Opinion

From Library Staff

Comment
CCCL_TeresaR May 12, 2021

Michelle Zauner wrote an essay for the New Yorker in 2018 about her deceased mother, Chongmi. It is a wonderful essay and it convinced me to get a copy of this book for consideration for our County-wide reading program. In the book the author, still raw from her loss, fills the pages with despair... Read More »


From the critics


Community Activity

Comment

Add a Comment
k
khill11
Jul 08, 2021

"Now, more than ever, I wished desperately for a way to transfer pain, wished I could prove to my mother just how much I loved her, that I could just crawl into her hospital cot and press my body close enough to absorb her burden. It seemed only fair that life should present such an opportunity to prove one's filian piety. That the months my mother had been a vessel for me, her organs shifting and cramping together to make room for my existence, and the agony she'd endured upon my exit could be repaid by carrying this pain in her place."~pg.86

Thoughts ~
This book cracked something open in me I didn't realize I had been holding in. An ode to grief, love, mothers and the power of food memory.

Zauner was in her mid twenties, building her music career when her mother was diagnosed with cancer. Dropping everything, she goes home to be with her. Most of the story focuses on her mothers battle with cancer but Zauner also shares what it was like growing up Asian American, struggling with her Korean identity and the vividness of food memories.

How do you review someone else's grief? An incredibly heavy and heartbreaking read and yet a lot of beauty too. I read it in a day. Zauner doesn't hold back as she goes through the motions of retracing her mother's death and the months leading up to it. She looks back on their relationship, on their differences and how they bonded over food and the memories she will cherish. And how cooking offered her a way to channel her grief and keep her mother and their culture close after her passing. Zauner captures the helplessness and heartbreak of watching someone you love die of cancer in such an honest way that if you've been through it you know, and if you haven't you hope you never do. The way she wrote this, the trajectory of her story was so well carried through. The end really hit hard. A great debut, emotional and therapeutic. Highly reccomend, especially for all you memoir lovers. Please seek own voices reviews for this lovely book.

For more of my book content check out @bookalong on Instagram

JCLIanH Jun 28, 2021

Came to this one as a fan of Zissner's band Japanese Breakfast and ended up curled up on the floor from the emotional gut-punch this memoir delivers.

i
Indoorcamping
Jun 24, 2021

Everything you’ve heard about this memoir is true: heartwarming, heartbreaking, vivacious, lyrical, awesome, honest, dazzling, overwhelming; in others words, everything you want in a spectacular memoir.

If you’ve heard her interviewed on podcasts, you know she’s interesting but not crazy out there weird, quirky but sweet, and someone who sounds so real. That’s exactly how this book reads.

Read, also, if you want details about growing up not pasty white in the nasty town of Eugene (my son still lives there and Oregon is hell, sorry, but you’ll find out if you decide that you want to extend that pretty vacation you had visiting the Tillamook factory and the Columbia gorge. There are too many spoiled, entitled, ignorant people of every kind, and the weather sucks. And there’s way too many judgmental people for who they are. You’re just one of fifty states, Oregon, pretty but you’re just California’s Canada). She does a good job of explaining why Eugene is awful but compelling, but also awful.

Mostly, it’s dealing with the mother/daughter relationship. The middle third is rough, not gonna lie. This is hard to read before going to sleep because you will dream of death and dying and not be able to stop thinking about what you’d do in her situation. However, it’s not depressing, oddly. In fact, by the end, it’s actually quite redemptive. And that’s what you want in any memoir, right?

Donna_R Jun 13, 2021

I am a fan of Japanese Breakfast's music. And now of her writing. Am still reeling after reading Crying in H Mart. It made me feel so much; I bawled myself silly. It's overwhelming. What a gift to share your truth like this. Book of the Year!

s
sjanke2
May 17, 2021

I didn't expect to be so moved by this memoir. I've never listened to Zauner's band Japanese Breakfast, nor am I a foodie. But her portrait of mothers and daughters and broken fathers really touched me. Her narration for the audiobook is intimate and gripping and made me cry in the car.

CCCL_TeresaR May 12, 2021

Michelle Zauner wrote an essay for the New Yorker in 2018 about her deceased mother, Chongmi. It is a wonderful essay and it convinced me to get a copy of this book for consideration for our County-wide reading program. In the book the author, still raw from her loss, fills the pages with despair. As I continued slowly reading it, I began to see the artist appear from the ashes. When she pursues the recipes her mother had prepared for her, she draws upon the memories of the taste, texture and smell surrounding those times. Those memories of cherished flavors and scents of food extends to the lotions and sunscreens her mother had lining her personal space.

One of my favorite parts of this book is the discovery of a trove of childhood photos stashed in the kimchi refrigerator. Zauner understands the depth of her mother’s love for her through them. She especially loves the imperfect images, the pictures taken to complete the roll of film before processing, crooked and with eyes closed. Not long after, the artist emerges in full when her music career is revived through new songs inspired by Chongmi.
That success leads to a tour of Asia and reconnection with her family and the food she loves.
Did her mother hold back 10% just for herself? I don’t think so. She left behind a legacy of memories for her daughter, and that seems like 100% love to me.

Thanks to both #netgalley and #edelweiss for providing this book for my honest review.

b
brangwinn
Apr 27, 2021

Growing up in Eugene Oregon with a Caucasian father and a Korean mother, it took the death of her mother from cancer for the author to understand life from her mother’s perspective. And as in many cultures, its food that brings us the most memories. In this case, it was going to the Korean grocery store, H Mart that brings fresh grief as Michelle looks over the shelves of food with which her mother cooked. It’s a moving and honest look at how children’s’ relationship with parents change. The beginning chapter alone makes this one of the outstanding memoirs of 2021.

Age

Add Age Suitability

There are no ages for this title yet.

Summary

Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.

Notices

Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.

Quotes

Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number

Recommendations

Subject Headings

  Loading...

Find it at CCCLib

  Loading...
[]
[]
To Top