Crying in H Mart by Michelle Zauner was on my radar when I saw Herstacks review on Instagram. I do not read a lot of nonfiction books but I love a good memoir. I reached out to the local bookstore to find out if they had copies but they said it wasn’t available yet. It was such a surprise to get a message from them weeks later stating that they’ll be sending me a free copy. Shout out to Rovingheights bookstore!
“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.”
In Crying in H Mart, Michelle shares her love for food and her relationship with her mother in a really beautiful and brutally honest way. She also explored a bit of her life growing up as a Korean American girl, her rebellious/tortured teenage years and how strained her relationship with her mother was. Michelle also talked about the process of losing her mother.
“ Food was an unspoken language between us”
“That was how my mother loved you, not through white lies and constant verbal affirmation, but in subtle observations of what brought you joy, pocketed away to make you feel comforted and cared for without even realizing it.”
When I started reading the paperback, I struggled to connect with it and I felt so bad. It feels wrong dissecting a memoir focused on grief but I only truly enjoyed this book while I listened to the audiobook. Listening to her narrate her story was amazing. It’s incredibly brave for her to share her regrets and grief. It takes a lot to be vulnerable to random strangers all over the world. This is why I feel this book was written for herself to herself probably as a form of healing.
In all of this, I will say this book reminds us to value our loved ones while they’re alive. It’s interesting and sad how much we appreciate the work and effort our parents put in only when the roles are reversed. When we are put in a position to take care of them in any way.
While I didn’t connect to this as much as I wanted to tbh because it felt disjointed at times, I also understood that grief isn’t linear. I am glad I didn’t give up on the paperback and switched to the audiobook.
Warning – Crying in H Mart by Michelle Zauner will leave craving Korean food! I found a Korean chef in Lagos on Instagram and I cannot wait to try some of the meals mentioned.