‘Crying in H Mart’ is an emotional and brutally honest memoir by Michelle Zauner, also known for her musical success as Japanese Breakfast. The daughter of a Korean mother and an American father, Michelle often struggled with her identity and finally gained some measure of peace and acceptance as she grew into adulthood.
Michelle’s relationship with her mother was often fraught with problems as her mother was a perfectionist and demanded the same from her daughter. She was highly critical of Michelle but yet they always bonded over food – the rich cuisine of Korea, which Michelle recounts in wonderful detail. Their relationship isn’t glossed over and Michelle’s mother was not an easy person to live with.
“𝘚𝘵𝘰𝘱 𝘤𝘳𝘺𝘪𝘯𝘨. 𝘚𝘢𝘷𝘦 𝘺𝘰𝘶𝘳 𝘵𝘦𝘢𝘳𝘴 𝘧𝘰𝘳 𝘸𝘩𝘦𝘯 𝘺𝘰𝘶𝘳 𝘮𝘰𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘳 𝘥𝘪𝘦𝘴.”
Michelle’s mother became gravely ill when Michelle was only 25 yet she cared for her mother with tender care and dignity. She grieves not only for the loss of her mother, but also for the many experiences they will not have the chance to share together. Food, however, is a chance for Zauner to show her mother how much she loves her.
“𝘍𝘰𝘰𝘥 𝘸𝘢𝘴 𝘢𝘯 𝘶𝘯𝘴𝘱𝘰𝘬𝘦𝘯 𝘭𝘢𝘯𝘨𝘶𝘢𝘨𝘦 𝘣𝘦𝘵𝘸𝘦𝘦𝘯 𝘶𝘴, 𝘩𝘢𝘥 𝘤𝘰𝘮𝘦 𝘵𝘰 𝘴𝘺𝘮𝘣𝘰𝘭𝘪𝘻𝘦 𝘰𝘶𝘳 𝘳𝘦𝘵𝘶𝘳𝘯 𝘵𝘰 𝘦𝘢𝘤𝘩 𝘰𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘳, 𝘰𝘶𝘳 𝘣𝘰𝘯𝘥𝘪𝘯𝘨, 𝘰𝘶𝘳 𝘤𝘰𝘮𝘮𝘰𝘯 𝘨𝘳𝘰𝘶𝘯𝘥.”
The fantastic descriptions of Korean food and traditions are mouth-watering. Zauner is a brilliant writer and her narration of the audiobook was exceptional. This vulnerable and complex memoir is a must-read!
About the Book:
From the indie rock star 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 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 Korean-ness 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 25, 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, 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 enjoy many times.