All You Can Ever Know by Nicole Chung
Bittersweet, empathic, and honest, Nicole Chung’s memoir, All You Can Ever Know (Catapult, $26), recounts her experiences as a Korean adoptee of white parents, follows her search for her birth parents, and charts her changing views of parenthood as she becomes a mother herself. Chung’s narrative unfolds her memories of facing racism growing up in a rural Oregon town, hushed attempts to excavate family secrets, and then the trials of new motherhood. She weaves in the perspective of her birth sister who grew up under vastly different circumstances, a narrative that ends in a complicated but heartfelt reunion between the two women. Chung’s lived experiences and poignant observations paint an intricate portrait of both Asian-American and transracial adoptee identity that challenges the prepackaged myths and assumptions held by society about both groups. All You Can Ever Know is moving and engaging from start to finish. The story is a relevant read for today, but also ends on a note of unabashed hope for tomorrow.