Monday, May 31, 2021
Book Review: "Crying in H Mart" by Michelle Zauner
“Sometimes my grief feels as though I’ve been left alone in a room with no doors. Every time I remember that my mother is dead, it feels like I’m colliding with a wall that won’t give. There’s no escape, just a hard surface that I keep ramming into over and over, a reminder of the immutable reality that I will never see her again.“
Michelle Zauner, a writer and indie musician known as Japanese Breakfast, lost her mother to cancer in 2014, when Michelle was 25 and her mother was 56. Although they had had a difficult relationship through Michelle’s troubled adolescence and early adulthood, there was no question that she was going to fly home to Oregon to nurse her mother through her final days.
In this beautifully poignant memoir, Zauner recounts her relationship with her mother and its peaks and valleys. Her mother was Korean and her father is American, so Zauner struggled with identity and being caught between two worlds. At times she embraced and at other times she ran from her Korean heritage and the pressures of her overbearing mother.
But their relationship was best celebrated through food, such a vital part of so many cultures. Zauner talks about eating with such gusto, the memories of her mother making different dishes to mark different occasions or for special situations. She also recounts cooking for her mother and her family in the last months of her life.
Losing a parent is never easy; she lost her mother just five months after my dad died suddenly. While every person’s grief is unique and they deal in different ways, this book definitely hit me in the feels and made me think of my relationship with my dad, which had its own beautiful moments and challenges.
Don’t read Crying in H Mart on an empty stomach, especially if you’re a fan of Korean food! (My stomach was HOWLING.)
BookSparks, Knopf Books, and Michelle Zauner sent me a complimentary copy of the book in exchange for an unbiased review as part of #SRC2021. Thanks for making it available!
Labels: book reviews, cooking, culture, family, food, grief, loss, love, marriage, memoirs, motherhood, nonfiction, parents, relationships, sad
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