All You Can Ever Know

Everyone once in awhile you come across a book that so exquisitely explains your life experience it makes you feel less alone in the world. For me, these books include The Giant’s House by Elizabeth McCracken, Geek Love by Kathrine Dunn, Beezus and Ramona by Beverly Clearly, and now All You Can Ever Know by Nicole Chung.

In her memoir, Chung documents what it was like to grow up the adopted Korean daughter of a white couple in a predominantly white town in Oregon and the journey she takes to find her birth parents. I cannot count how many times this book made me gasp with recognition. I’m not Korean, though the pain of not looking like your family is not lost on me. I don’t look like anyone in my family, even though I was only adopted by my dad.

What we really got me was how she too was sure that if she passed her biological mother on the street, she would just know. I often thought the same thing about running into my biological father. I wonder, do all people who were adopted think that?

This is a lovely memoir and I’m so glad I read it.

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