Crying in H Mart by Michelle Zauner | book review

This review is spoiler-free!

“It felt like the world had divided into two different types of people, those who had felt pain and those who had yet to.”

– Michelle Zauner, Crying in H Mart

Title: Crying in H Mart
Series: standalone
Author: Michelle Zauner
Publisher: Knopf Publishing Group
Published: April 20, 2021
Category: adult
Genre: memoir
Pages: 256
My Rating: ★★★★☆
Goodreads page

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This is a memoir about growing up Korean American, losing her mother, and forging her own identity.

In this story of family, food, grief, and endurance, Michelle Zauner proves herself far more than a singer, songwriter, and guitarist. With humor and heart, she tells of growing up the only Asian American kid 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.

As she grew up, moving to the East Coast for college, finding work in the restaurant industry, and performing gigs with her fledgling band–and meeting the man who would become her husband–her Koreanness began to feel ever more distant, even as she found the life she wanted to live. It was her mother’s diagnosis of terminal pancreatic cancer, when Michelle was twenty-five, that forced a reckoning with her identity and brought her to reclaim the gifts of taste, language, and history her mother had given her.

[ This synopsis was taken directly from Goodreads. ]

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If you’re considering reading this book, I just want to note that this memoir can get very bleak. If you’re not in the headspace to read about death, grief, and trauma, I would not pick up this book until you’re ready.

I don’t read a lot of memoirs, but I picked up this book because there was a lot of hype surrounding it, especially in the Korean American community. I listened to the audiobook, and I’m glad I did because there’s something so nice about an author reading their own memoirs.

There were so many things that Michelle Zauner touched on like what it means to grow up in the Korean culture and what it means to be Korean American. It was nice to see my own experiences as a Korean American represented in a story.

That being said, there were a few takeaways from those experiences that Michelle talks about that could be dangerous. There were a few instances where she recounts some traumatic events, but later she just chalks it up to “her mother’s love.” While I understand the sentiment, love doesn’t equal good. Love doesn’t equal healthy. Her conclusion of what I went through was traumatic, but it’s okay because it was done to be out of love/with good intentions could potentially be dangerous to readers who are going through similar/are still processing their own experiences.

Other than that, I really liked this memoir. It made me laugh, cry, and reminisce about my own upbringing, and it was nice to see I wasn’t alone in the joys and struggles of growing up Asian American.


✅ Michelle Zauner herself narrates the audiobook
✅ will make you feel all the feels
❌ some of the takeaways can potentially be dangerous

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I give Crying in H Mart 4 stars!

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Stay awkward and amazing!

3 thoughts on “Crying in H Mart by Michelle Zauner | book review

  1. Aarushi @ aarushireads 09/21/2021 / 5:47 pm

    lovely review!! this book has been on my radar ever since it released and i really hope to get to it soon. will for sure need a box of tissues on standby though 🤧

    Liked by 1 person

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