Crying in H Mart

By Michelle Zauner,

Book cover of Crying in H Mart: A Memoir

Book description

One of Barack Obama's Favorite Books of 2021

The New York Times bestseller from the Grammy-nominated indie rockstar Japanese Breakfast, an unflinching, deeply moving memoir about growing up mixed-race, Korean food, losing her Korean mother, and forging her own identity in the wake of her loss.

'As good as everyone…

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Why read it?

4 authors picked Crying in H Mart as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

I’m not a fan of memoirs – especially grief journeys, but the infusion of the life preserver of childhood Korean food poked the core of me – the memories of the joy of food in my own home. The journey through the horrors of dignity-robbing cancer and the universal search for a new identity forged from loss was a mirror for me.

I recognized the trials of caretaking – the longing to prepare tempting food for her mother, who couldn’t eat it. Zaumer shares that H Mart is where “parachute” kids went to find the type of noodle that reminded…

This book absolutely devastated me - in the best way.

A stunning mediation on grief and mother-daughter relationships, expressed by someone who is perhaps better known as a musician (Zauner’s alias in the music world is Japanese Breakfast.) What I love about this book are the simple descriptions of specific food items that bond families, and how reflecting on them as an adult can change their meaning.

Ultimately, it’s a love story; although a tragic one, it also has moments of hope, light, and connection.

This memoir is a public and usually unspoken attribution to the complicated battles of cancer within culture as an Asian woman.

Michelle’s mom is diagnosed with cancer and eventually passes away due to her illness, and throughout her battle she continues a less-than-simple mother-daughter relationship. This leads to less than complicated feelings after her death.

This book has a true frankness to it that makes you feel like you’re sitting across from the author at coffee, hearing the stories of her mom secondhand. Some are positive, some are negative, and some are just in between, but they all play into…

From Bella's list on feeling validated in your grief.

I loved Michelle Zauner’s essay by the same name when it came out in The New Yorker in 2018. I teach this essay in my Intro to Food Writing Class, and my students find it as moving and transporting as I do. Zauner’s new memoir—it came out in April—chronicles the decline of her mother's health and her own journey in finding her sense of self, often through the Korean dishes, ingredients, and flavors that connect her to her mom. The mother-daughter relationship is complex, full of love and pain, and the writing is gorgeous and sparkling.

From Hannah's list on celebrating food.

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