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Crying on the Amtrak while reading Crying in Hmart

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at CUA chapter.

At the top of a very long list of books that I wanted to read was ‘Crying in H Mart’ by Michelle Zauner. I’d heard about this book since I am a huge fan of Japanese Breakfast, a band where Zauner is the lead singer. 

This Memoir shows Zauner’s search for identity as she struggles with being biracial, her rocky relationship with her Korean mother, and the start of her music career. It demonstrates her key emotions and moments that are constantly linked to food. Through food, she shares a connection with her mother, heritage, and her true self.

Last November, I purchased this book and planned on reading it throughout my time at home during my school’s Thanksgiving break. I always take the Amtrak home to New Jersey, which is a three-and-a-half-hour journey from DC. My train home this time departed at 7:00 AM. I am not a morning person so it was extremely difficult for me to get to the train station on time. Once I arrived and fought the crowd to find a seat, I whipped out my brand-new book. I expected to only read one chapter and then fall asleep, but soon my lack of sleep became nothing over yearning for more. My yawn turned into gasps as each word on the page left me with a new emotion.   

The book dealt with Zauner’s mother getting cancer and ultimately passing away. The theme of the book was dealing with grief and trying to push through the darkness that grief creates. It was the quote, “It felt like the world had divided into two different types of people, those who have felt pain and those who have yet to,” that ultimately killed me. That’s when my walls came crumbling down and tears began to fill my face. There was no escape from my built-up emotions and unfortunately, I had to face them all while on public transportation. What started as a couple of tears became a full-on waterfall and I was unable to stop my sobs from being heard by the people around me. The emotions that  I had been holding inside for so long I had no choice but to show the cramped train cart overfilled with people. The middle-aged woman next to me noticed my outburst and leaned over to ask if I was okay. I just nodded aggressively. Eventually, while trying to calm myself down, I was able to push through and finish the book in one sitting.  

After closing the book, I sat in silence for the rest of the ride with tear-stained cheeks and an overwhelming feeling of melancholy. When I finally arrived at my stop I ran off the train, down the station steps, and flew into the arms of my mother who was standing there waiting for me. I hugged her so tight I lost the ability to breathe. I may have experienced grief and the loss of loved ones, but I have been lucky enough to have my Mom by my side through it all. This book devastated me but reminded me how lucky I am to still have my Mom. 

Howdy yall I am a sophomore communications major :)