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Book of the Month: Crying in H Mart

By Michelle Zauner

Recommended grades 10+ (some mature themes)

Crying in H Mart is a poignant and deeply personal memoir by Michelle Zauner that explores themes of identity, grief, and the intricate bonds of family and culture. The book was honored with the prestigious 2021 Goodreads Choice Award for Memoir & Autobiography. This accolade underscores the widespread acclaim and admiration that Zauner's memoir has garnered from readers worldwide. 

In this book, Zauner skillfully weaves together memories of her childhood in Eugene, Oregon, where she grappled with the challenges of straddling two cultures - the Korean traditions of her mother and the American lifestyle surrounding her. Zauner finds solace and connection through food, particularly the Korean dishes her mother lovingly prepares as she grows older. However, the heart of the memoir lies in Zauner's exploration of her relationship with her mother, who is diagnosed with terminal cancer. Through the lens of her mother's illness, Zauner reflects on their shared experiences, misunderstandings, and the unspoken love that binds them together. One of the most compelling aspects of Crying in H Mart is Zauner's exploration of cultural identity and how food serves as a conduit for connection and remembrance. As she navigates the aisles of H Mart, a Korean supermarket chain, Zauner grapples with the bittersweet nostalgia of her mother's cooking and the rituals that defined their relationship. Through food, Zauner finds a way to honor her mother's legacy and preserve the essence of their bond.

Crying in H Mart is a beautifully crafted memoir that leaves a lasting impact. Michelle Zauner's candid storytelling and heartfelt reflections make this book a must-read for anyone seeking to understand the complexities of grief, identity, and the unbreakable ties that bind us to our past and loved ones. 

High school students grades 10+ may want to add this memoir to their summer reading list. If you are or are the parent of a younger student, please visit our past book recommendations to find book of various genres and reading levels that will engage scholars at every age!

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