As a mom of a transracial adoptee, this book jumped out at me. You don't have to have a personal connection to Nicole's experiences to find common ground. Her openness and honesty light the way to universal themes of self-doubt, otherness, family, and belonging. A moving read! Recommended By Lesley A., Powells.com
The openness and honesty with which Nicole Chung writes about her life is captivating. This is an intensely personal book, but handled with a precision that keeps it from feeling voyeuristic. If you only read one memoir this year, read All You Can Ever Know. Recommended By Ashleigh B., Powells.com
Synopses & Reviews
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 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 hope of giving her a better life, that forever feeling slightly out of place was her fate as a transracial adoptee. But as Nicole grew up — facing prejudice her adoptive family couldn't see, finding her identity as an Asian American and as a writer, becoming ever more curious about where she came from &emdash; she wondered if the story she'd been told was the whole truth.
With the same warmth, candor, and startling insight that has made her a beloved voice, Nicole 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.
"This book moved me to my very core. As in all her writing, Nicole Chung speaks eloquently and honestly about her own personal story, then widens her aperture to illuminate all of us. All You Can Ever Know is full of insights on race, motherhood, and family of all kinds, but what sets it apart is the compassion Chung brings to every facet of her search for identity and every person portrayed in these pages. This book should be required reading for anyone who has ever had, wanted, or found a family — which is to say, everyone." Celeste Ng, author of Little Fires Everywhere
"This book will break your heart in all the best ways. Nicole Chung's intimate exploration of motherhood, race, and identity is a beautiful personal story that also reveals something profound about our culture and country. I didn't want it to end." Jessica Valenti, author of Sex Object
"I've been waiting for this writer, and this book — and everything else she'll write — and now it is here." Alexander Chee, author of The Queen of the Night
About the Author
Nicole Chung has written for The New York Times, GQ, Longreads, BuzzFeed, Hazlitt, and Shondaland, among other publications. She is Catapult magazine's editor in chief and the former managing editor of The Toast. All You Can Ever Know is her first book.