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.
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.
... an exceptionally vivid memoir that deftly explores the complex relationships between culture and family, mothers and daughters. The details of Zauner’s mother’s illness and death, as well as their devastating impact on the author, make for gut-wrenching reading, but it’s hard to put this book down. The author holds nothing back as she navigates her adolescent search to understand her identity, made more complex by her biracial background. She’s particularly open about her evolving relationship with her mother ... The details and cultural references here are particular to Zauner’s life, but her account contains so many all-too-common experiences of grief and endurance that it will resonate with just about everyone ... Zauner has created a memoir that is distinctly her own, but it will leave a mark on anyone who reads it.
Readers will sense years of reflection built into every sentence of musician Zauner’s debut memoir ... As Zauner lives through her shocking grief, food binds her to her mother, as it always did, and in meditative paragraphs she shares her therapeutic experiences making jatjuk and kimchi. This is a beautiful, forthright memoir about the bewildering loss of a parent, and the complicated process of finding one’s art.