Crying in H Mart is a memoir about grief, family, and food, as musician Michelle Zauner tells stories about growing up with her Korean mother and American father, navigating her identity in Korea and America, and losing her mother after a cancer diagnosis. Throughout the book are tales of food, eaten and cooked, and how important food has been to her in her relationship to her mother, her other Korean relatives, and to getting through things.
The hype about this book is definitely deserved, as it is both emotional and powerful, and also leaves you hungry, really feeling the importance of the food described throughout and thinking about how food can create bonds between people. I found myself eating spicy egg ramen whilst reading it and saving YouTube videos about Korean cooking, significant in the book as Zauner looks to learn how to make the food her mother made, to watch later. The exploration of grief and illness is sad but also witty at times, getting across how complicated both emotions and families can be.
Written in an engaging way, Crying in H Mart does as maybe good memoirs should and draws you both into Zauner’s anecdotes and makes you reflect on your own experiences. It is a testament to mother-child relationships that are messy but full of love, and also to how much food can define moments and memories.