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All You Can Ever Know

All You Can Ever Know

"Most of the literature about adoption, specifically transracial Asian adoption, comes from experts studying the topic or adoptive parents. That’s nice. So I was hyped for Nicole Chung, a Korean American adoptee raised by white parents, and her memoir. Reflecting on her pregnancy, birth family search, and childhood, Chung talks about more than family and race. She goes into the complexity of relating to your family, the alienation of being the only POC in the room, and breaking down the “good adoption” narrative. She was able to put into words a lot of what I felt and experienced, and I felt relieved at not being the only one. I champion Asian representation in all media, and All You Can Ever Know is the first time I've actually felt seen."

Lily R.

See all my recommendations »

Author Nicole Chung
Publication Date 2019-10-15
Section Biography / New Titles - Paperback / All Staff Suggestions / Non-Fiction Suggestions / Lily R.
Type New
Format Hardcover
ISBN 9781948226370


Long-listed for PEN Open Book Award

Finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award for Autobiography

Named a Best Book of the Year by The Washington Post, NPR, TimeThe Boston GlobeReal SimpleBuzzfeed, Jezebel, BustleLibrary Journal, Chicago Public Library, and more

"This book moved me to my very core. . . . [All You Can Ever Know] 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

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—she wondered if the story she’d been told was the whole truth.

With warmth, candor, and startling insight, 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.

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