What does it mean to lose your roots—within your culture, within your family—and what happens when you find them?
Nicole Chung was born severely premature, placed for adoption by her Korean parents, and raised by a white family in a sheltered Oregon town. From early childhood, she heard the story of her adoption as a comforting, prepackaged myth. She believed that her biological parents had made the ultimate sacrifice in the hopes of giving her a better life; that forever feeling slightly out of place was simply her fate as a transracial adoptee. But as she grew up—facing prejudice her adoptive family couldn’t see, finding her identity as an Asian American and a writer, becoming ever more curious about where she came from—she wondered if the story she’d been told was the whole truth.
With warmth, candor, and startling insight, Chung tells of her search for the people who gave her up, which coincided with the birth of her own child. All You Can Ever Know is a profound, moving chronicle of surprising connections and the repercussions of unearthing painful family secrets—vital reading for anyone who has ever struggled to figure out where they belong. (via Goodreads)
I received an eARC of All You Can Ever Know via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.
I’ve been a fan of Nicole Chung’s for years on Twitter and on The Toast. She’s always been open about her experiences as a transracial adoptee, so when I heard that her memoir was coming out, I had to request a copy. All You Can Ever Know was moving in so many ways, and so honestly Nicole in the best way I could have imagined.
Reading All You Can Ever Know felt like I was sitting at Nicole’s kitchen table while she told me her life story. Her writing is conversational and warm. She owns up to her own biases throughout the novel, and her own hesitations about her biological family, but also stands her ground where she needs to.
This needs some trigger warnings for premature birth, mentions of racism, mentions of miscarriages, mental health problems, physical and emotional abuse, and pregnancy.
Anyone looking to learn more about Nicole, or about being a transracial adoptee, would love every minute they spent reading this memoir. You can pick up a copy on Amazon or Indiebound. I promise you won’t regret it.