Not Just Another Grouchy Grammarian

Musings about language, books, grammar, and writing in general

Review: Crying in H Mart, by Michelle Zauner

Michelle Zauner has written a very special book, Crying in H Mart.

Note: For those of you who are not familiar with H Mart, it is an American grocery chain specializing in Asian foods and other goods. The stores are huge, with a mind-boggling array of items — often at better prices than in “regular” supermarket chains.

I listened to it in one long sitting, because it rang so true to what I felt about the loss of my own mother (from breast cancer that returned and went to her liver). The trappings of the two families (hers, Korean American; mine, American assimilated Jewish) may be very different, but the complexities of the mother/daughter relationship and the complexities of grieving the loss of one’s mother are very much the same, and Ms. Zauner does not shy away from them.

She also is very clear about how she held on to the Korean part of her heritage by cooking the dishes her mother had made when she was growing up. Comfort food is, after all, the food that brought us comfort as kids. (Mine is my mom’s split pea soup, rich with beef instead of pork, and loaded with carrot and potato chunks. It can be made from scratch, although Mom often used these packets from either Manischewitz or Streits as a base. But I digress…)

If you have lost a mom, I don’t think you will be untouched by Crying in H Mart. Then, again, even if you haven’t lost a mom, I believe you will find Ms. Zauner’s book relevant. I certainly recommend that you read it, even if it appears to not be something you would pick up as a matter of course. It’s definitely well-worth the time.

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