All You Can Ever Know
A NATIONAL BESTSELLER
This beloved memoir "is an extraordinary, honest, nuanced and compassionate look at adoption, race in America and families in general" (Jasmine Guillory, Code Switch, NPR)
What does it means to lose your roots—within your culture, within your family—and what happens when you find them?
Nicole Chung was born severely premature, placed for adoption by her Korean parents, and raised by a white family in a sheltered Oregon town. From childhood, she heard the story of her adoption as a comforting, prepackaged myth. She believed that her biological parents had made the ultimate sacrifice in the hope of giving her a better life, that forever feeling slightly out of place was her fate as a transracial adoptee. But as Nicole grew up—facing prejudice her adoptive family couldn’t see, finding her identity as an Asian American and as a writer, becoming ever more curious about where she came from—she wondered if the story she’d been told was the whole truth.
With warmth, candor, and startling insight, Nicole Chung tells of her search for the people who gave her up, which coincided with the birth of her own child. All You Can Ever Know is a profound, moving chronicle of surprising connections and the repercussions of unearthing painful family secrets—vital reading for anyone who has ever struggled to figure out where they belong.
In her stunning memoir, freelance writer Chung tracks the story of her own adoption, from when she was born premature and spent months on life support to the decision, while pregnant with her first child, to search for her birth family. Growing up the only person of color in an all-white family and neighborhood in a small Oregon town five hours outside of Portland, Chung felt out of place. She kept a tally of other Asians she saw but could go years without seeing anyone she didn't recognize. She knew very little about her birth parents only the same story she was told again and again by her adoptive parents: "Your birth parents had just moved here from Korea. They thought they wouldn't be able to give you the life you deserved." Decades later, Chung, with the help of a "search angel," an intermediary who helps unite adoptive families, decided to track them down, hoping to at least get her family medical history, but what she found was a story far more complicated than she imagined. Chung's writing is vibrant and provocative as she explores her complicated feelings about her transracial adoption (which she "loved and hated in equal measure") and the importance of knowing where one comes from.
Enjoyed the book, a little repetitive at parts but interesting.
Wish the sample was longer...
Apple provided a “51 page” sample (based on my phone font) of which 46 pages were reviews about the book. I only had an opportunity to read a page (maybe). While reviews can be helpful, I should be able to read a more substantial sample so that I can figure out if I like the book well enough to pay the asking price.