Singer for the band Japanese Breakfast 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.
... powerfully maps a complicated mother-daughter relationship cut much too short ... Zauner's food descriptions transport us to the table alongside her ... a rare acknowledgement of the ravages of cancer in a culture obsessed with seeing it as an enemy that can be battled with hope and strength ...Zauner carries the same clear-eyed frankness to writing about her mother's death five months after her diagnosis ... It is rare to read about a slow death in such detail, an odd gift in that it forces us to sit with mortality rather than turn away from it.
It is not unusual for a memoir to describe the decline and aftermath of a loved one, and what it means to move on ... Michelle Zauner’s take is exquisitely detailed and wonderfully layered, both episodic in its individual essays and continuous in its exploration of grief. Its depictions of motherhood and daughterhood stand alone ... The essays lose their episodic nature and weave together as a cohesive memoir. Themes mentioned earlier are picked up and carried on ... It’s a natural impulse to reminisce and block out sour memories when remembering someone lost. Creating a new picture from the pieces we have. Zauner, however, shows us all the pieces. We see how her mother’s legacy lives in its fragmented way, in photographs, family members, and recipes ... I came to Crying in H Mart expecting to cry (which I did), but what I did not expect was the amount of self-reflection it would cause. Zauner eschews broad platitudes and makes her work relatable, both on a cultural and personal level. She does not overexplain her Korean heritage, doesn’t provide a footnote for every morsel of food ... In this book, Zauner brings us all in so close that we’re left with no other option but to examine our own lives just as closely.
From the moment we read the opening sentence of Michelle Zauner’s poignant memoir, we’re hooked. It’s a rare gift; Zauner perfectly distills the palpable ache for her mother and wraps her grief in an aromatic conjuring of her mother’s presence ... hardly ends in defeat, however. As difficult as her grief is, Zauner celebrates her mother in the very place they shared their most intimate joys, losses and pleasures: H Mart.