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Crying with Michelle

*This is a book review of Crying in H Mart by Michelle Zauner.

Quick Facts

Author: Michelle Zauner
Release Date: April 20, 2021
Genre: Memoir, autobiography
Number of Pages: 239
SJ Rating: 95%

TRIGGER WARNING: This book does mention suicide and suicide ideation.

The Synopsis

Follow the journey of Michelle Zauner as she shares her beautifully heartbreaking experience of going through her twenties while her mother battled cancer. Doused in connecting with Korean culture, the power of food, and the complications of family, this memoir will break your heart and put it back together again.

The Good

This memoir is so beautifully written. An example is when Michelle writes, “For the rest of my life there would be a splinter in my being, stinging from the moment my mother died until it was buried with me.” Wow. Poetic, in my opinion.

I appreciate the translation of Korean dialect and explaining important things that are apart of Michelle’s culture. I never knew what the “H” meant in “H Mart,” and I’m so happy we get the meaning on the first page.

Michelle’s relationship with her mother during her formative childhood years is so scarily similar to mine. All the way down to arguing about what I was wearing and having to leave my bedroom door open to getting into a physical fight with each other. It was very beautiful and validating to read the way we used music to deal with the relationships; she writes, “Nothing was as vital as music, the only comfort for my existential dread.” We also shared thoughts about escaping the planet entirely due to our situations. “I fantasized about dying. Every object in the world seemed to become a tool for it.”

Despite their rocky relationship, I am taking her mother’s advice of saving ten percent of yourself and keeping it with me forever. It means no matter how much you love someone, never give them all of yourself in case it doesn’t work out. Save ten percent so you have something to fall back on and build from. This may not be the healthiest, but oh well.

The Bad

There were a couple of moments that made me feel like I was watching The Food Network because of the level of detail we were given when describing the food.

The Overall

This memoir ultimately shows the power of food and its ability to rehash memories and bring people together.

I know cancer is brutal, but my goodness; this makes me want to throttle it. It’s literally devastation after devastation after devastation.

Apparently, there is going to be a film adaptation of this book, and I will definitely be there to watch it. I believe Michelle wrote/is writing the script in between gigs with her band Japanese Breakfast.

I went through the five stages of grief reading this memoir. Oh my goodness. It is definitely worth the hype.

Next book to be read and reviewed: The Way I Used to Be by Amber Smith

“Sometimes my grief feels as though I’ve been left alone in a room with no doors.”

– Michelle Zauner

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