Blog, Book Reviews

Crying in H Mart: Book Review

If you have unresolved mommy issues, I would not suggest you to read Crying in H Mart by Michelle Zauner. If you haven’t self-diagnosed yourself with said issues, then I highly recommend you read this!

Crying in H Mart is a memoir outlining Zauner’s relationship with her mother, before, during, and after she dies of cancer. We follow Zauner and her mother through Zauner’s life, traveling through her childhood, adolescence, and adulthood. We see the ups and downs of this mother-daughter relationship navigating through culture, gender, and food.

Speaking of food, I would also not recommend reading this while hungry because the food described sounds absolutely delicious.

in a glass bowl, on a wooden board, is kimchi, a fermented cabbage dish popular in Korea topped with scallions
Source: Maangchi Vegetarian Kimchi, this particular YouTuber inspired Zauner throughout the writing of this book.

The importance of food permeates through the story. Food is not just food; it’s a bonding activity and an expression of love and devotion. Zauner shares so many ways in which food kept her close to her Korean heritage and to her mother.

Zauner wasn’t the perfect daughter, and her mother wasn’t the perfect mother. Yet, their story shows the unfeigned humanity beneath the labels of mother and daughter, especially when that humanity is being challenged by illness.

I came across Crying in H Mart for the first time in a book horoscope on Lit Hub. Of course Cancer’s recommendation was a book about a relationship with a mother with a title encapsulating crying in public. Way to call me out!

I feel like I use the word “raw” to describe a lot of books. Maybe I am just drawn to books I consider raw. I felt like this account and reckoning was very personal, too personal at times, as if I was seeing this woman naked. But to me, vulnerability makes for amazing art.

All in all, I highly recommend Crying in H Mart. If you want to experience an emotional roller coaster that is a mother-daughter relationship, this one’s for you! 

Tayler Simon is a nerdy black woman in search of liberation for all. When she's not reading/listening to audiobooks and writing, you can find her laughing at memes and chatting incessantly about astrology (Cancer/Sagittarius/Cancer). Favorite genres: African American fiction and memoir.

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