#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • From the indie rock sensation known as Japanese Breakfast, an unforgettable memoir about family, food, grief, love, and growing up Korean American—“in losing her mother and cooking to bring her back to life, Zauner became herself” (NPR). • CELEBRATING OVER ONE YEAR ON THE NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER LIST
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 Koreanness 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 twenty-five, 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, and complete with family photos, Crying in H Mart is a book to cherish, share, and reread.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
Indie rocker Michelle Zauner went viral in 2017 with a New Yorker essay about mourning her Korean-born mother in the aisles of her favorite Asian-American supermarket. Her memoir expands on that story with a deeply emotional series of vignettes about growing up as a mixed-race child in Eugene, Oregon. We follow Zauner as she bonds with her traditionally minded mother over their shared love of Korean food, and then watch them grow apart when she pursues a music career against her mom’s wishes. (Her dream-pop band Japanese Breakfast makes a perfect reading soundtrack.) Zauner’s vivid depiction of her mother’s sudden illness and death is devastating, though her rom-com-like scramble to marry her grad-student boyfriend while her mom is still alive had us laughing through the tears. It’s when Zauner talks about eating and preparing food that Crying in H Mart becomes more than just another memoir about loss. It’s a celebration of pleasure, experience, and life that’ll leave you with a serious craving for bulgogi and bibimbap.
Musician Zauner debuts with an earnest account of her Korean-American upbringing, musical career, and the aftermath of her mother's death. She opens with a memory of a visit to an Asian American supermarket, where, among fellow shoppers who were "searching for a piece of home, or a piece of ourselves," Zauner was able to grieve the death of her mother, Chongmi, with whom she had a difficult relationship. Her white American father met her mother in Seoul in 1983, and Zauner immigrated as an infant to Eugene, Ore. In Zauner's teenage years in the late 2000s, Chongmi vehemently opposed Zauner's musical dreams and, in one outburst, admitted to having an abortion after Zauner's birth "because you were such a terrible child!" The confession caused a rift that lasted almost six years, until Zauner learned of her mother's cancer diagnosis. After Chongmi's death in 2014, Zauner's career took off, and during a sold-out concert in Seoul, Zauner writes, she realized her success "revolved around death, that the songs... memorialized her." The prose is lyrical if at times overwrought, but Zauner does a good job capturing the grief of losing a parent with pathos. Fans looking to get a glimpse into the inner life of this megawatt pop star will not be disappointed.
This book clung to me; it feels cathartic, real, and warm. Felt a little slow at parts but so glad I read it.
Extremely touching memoir
Extremely touching memoir
Cried while reading
Spoiler alert: get ready to cry like a baby! It’s like reading about my own life. I thought so much about my mom, my family, my childhood. So much nostalgia. Loved reading it yet it was so difficult to keep reading because it was so much heart breaking.