Crying in H Mart

By Michelle Zauner

APRIL 20, 2021 • 242 Pages

4 Stars

Rating: 4 out of 5.

With food, family, and death at the centerpiece of this service, “Crying in H Mart,” is a gathering of the ugly side of grief and dying, the little moments of happiness interspersed in-between, and the eventual rise to acceptance of the love that never leaves.

I’ve never been the biggest fan of memoires. I’ve always felt, and still kinda do, that most try too hard to impart significance where there is none. However, I truly did enjoy this book.

There were many tidbits of Michelle’s experience as an Asian American that resonated so strongly with me (like dreams of shit and the reality of being too Asian and too American at the same time). And while Zauner does not shy away from her relationship with her parents, both tender and tumultuous, what always comes out is the love between all of them. Her raw honesty made her family feel more real than picturesque. Sometimes I felt like I was listening to chismis with the way she was exposing her father– a relationship which still, largely, feels unexplored to me.

Loss is a universal experience. While a book about losing someone you love to cancer isn’t all that special, what truly sets this memoir apart from others isn’t the tragedy of losing her mother to cancer, but Zauner’s writing. Her exploration of her grief through food, too, but most of all, the duality of her identity as an Asian American that becomes more striking with the loss of her most immediate connection to her Korean heritage— her mother.

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