‘Crying in H-Mart’ shows Asian-American life

Kristyann Esteron, Editor in Chief

“Crying in H Mart” is a memoir written by Korean American singer and author Michelle Zauner. The book encapsulates the struggles Asian Americans are put through while surviving in America under parental pressure and American assimilation.

Being an Asian American, I personally related to Zauner’s stories. From the pressure of Asian parents to go into a certain profession to the lack of knowledge of one’s culture, Zauner expresses emotions and stories that represent me.

As I was growing up, there wasn’t much Asian representation in literature that represented me or my feelings. Zauner marvelously lays out the things that I most needed to hear, creating a comforting environment in my experiences and my own skin.

Zauner also describes the heart-wrenching tragedies and hardships she had faced and how she “persevered” through them. She creates a hopeful story for those who feel the pressure from an Asian family.

In the book, Zauner performs in a band which is not to her mother’s liking. Because of this, Zauner and her mother would get into lots of fights. This relates back to how some Asian parents have certain expectations for their children and how those expectations pressure kids and affect family relationships.

Despite the hardships Zauner faced with her mother, she uses this book as a tribute to her late mother. Zauner beautifully showcases her life with her mother from kid to adult, demonstrating how Korean food and culture became a strong factor in remembering her mother.

“Food was how my mother expressed her love,” she writes. “No matter how critical or cruel she could seem, I could always feel her affection radiating from the lunches she packed and the meals she prepared for me just the way I liked them.”

What I love most about this book is the similar mindsets that are shared between the author and I. There are things that are pretty exclusive to minority groups, Asians specifically in this book, so it was the kind of book that I couldn’t put down.

“I had spent my adolescence trying to blend in with my peers in suburban America, and had come of age feeling like my belonging was something to prove. I could never be of both worlds,” Zauner explains.

Every chapter has its own unique story that serves as a memory or a life lesson or both. From this, you can see the character development as she grows from a kid to an adult facing struggles.

“Crying in H Mart” is a beautiful, beautiful story, and what makes it even more amazing is seeing the continuation of Michelle Zauner’s story as an artist from performing in little venues to seeing her current work performing at this year’s 2022 Coachella and attending the Grammys.

Biggest cheers to Michelle Zauner for not only expressing the emotions of Asians but for overcoming her life’s struggles and progressing forward. She is a worthy role model.