Wednesday, March 30, 2022

Book Review - Crying in H Mart by Michelle Zauner

My PA book gang just read this rather sad, candid coming-of-age story by Michelle Zauner (musically known as Japanese Breakfast) - Crying in H Mart. I'll be honest since I chose this book that it was quite difficult to take at times due to the heartfelt material. It was a lot deeper than I expected, but in a good way. 

At mid-twenties, Michelle was a waitress and trying to launch a musical career in Philly. She stopped everything and  flew to Oregon to be with her mother who was battling final stages of cancer. Whew!

Her book reveals how she grew apart from and then back to her Korean identity.  cover blurb With humor and heart, she tells of growing up Asian American, straining to meet her mother's expectations, moving across the country, and returning home  to reckon with grief. As an adult she learns to cook Korean dishes that revive her memories. She savors the unexpected solace of weekly trips to her favorite Asian grocery store. 

This book definitely digs into a mother/daughter relationship. I had to keep reminding myself as I read this about her youth. 

p.53 Music rushed in to fill the void. It cracked a fissure, splintered a vein, through the already precarious and widening rift between my mother and me; it would become a chasm that threatened to swallow us whole.  

p.225  The lessons she imparted, the proof of her life lived on in me, in my every mood and deed

As someone who has no knowledge of Korean food, this book offered interesting descriptions to me. Food was a connection to Michelle and her mother and heritage. I want to wander the aisles of H Mart, but not cry. 

I did however cry for Michelle and her mother, for a too young death, and a young motherless adult. 

Crying in H Mart is an interesting memoir, well-written, and it gives insight into Michelle Zauner's (Japanese Breakfast) music. 


  1. A sad book indeed Joanne, it's sad to see one's offspring passaway. My son has been gone for three and a hald years yet it seems like only yesterday,
    Thanks for sharing this with us,

    1. indeed, reading a book like this is hard, but it helped me shed tears for my mom.

  2. Hi Joanne - this sounds an interesting way into learning a little about Korean life, and that mother-daughter relationship; while the author sounds fascinating and I see they're intending to make a film from the book. I'll remember to keep an eye open for this author - thanks for introducing us to her. Cheers Hilary

    1. This book covered a lot of subjects - Korean life, mixed-race kid, losing a mother young. Our book club had a lot to chat about. The author, while young, has found herself and put a lot into words in her book and her music. I was impressed