Healing Intergenerational Trauma Through Story — Mary H.K. Choi

Continuing with our series on women in the literary arts, today’s guest is Mary H.K. Choi, a Korean-American New York Times best-selling author.

Mary has written three young adult novels and has been published in The Atlantic, New York Times, and GQ.

Her latest book, Yolk, is the story of two estranged sisters who slowly heal their relationship after one of them is diagnosed with cancer.

In our wide-ranging conversation today, we talk about Mary’s journey to becoming a writer and some of the beliefs she had to let go of to get to where she is.

We then dive into Yolk, where Mary talks about the similarities between her and one of the main characters, Jane. Mary unpacks why it was important for her to write about an eating disorder and having a fraught relationship with your body.

Not only does this reflect Mary’s personal experience, but it also comments on the broader pressures within east Asian communities regarding physical appearance. We also touch on intergenerational trauma and why Mary thinks it’s an inevitable outcome of the immigrant experience, race, and the power of sibling hood as an immigrant.

To hear all this and more, tune in today!

• Hear what Mary was like as a little girl and her naturally inquisitive, scrappy nature.
• When Mary realized that she wanted to be a writer and the pain that came with this realization.
• The difficulty Mary faced trying to break into mainstream media.
• For many years, Mary waited for permission, or for a break based on her merit.
• A synopsis of Mary’s latest book, Yolk, and the similarities between her and the main character, Jane.
• The struggles Mary has had with eating disorders throughout her life.
• Why it was so important for Mary to talk about bulimia in her book.
• How Jane’s low self-worth and insecurity reflect what happens to many women of color.
• The different yolk signifiers and why Mary chose this as the name of the book.
• Why Mary chose to explore sisterhood in Yolk, despite not having sisters herself.
• Mary’s fraught relationship with America and how she thinks about her identity.
• Having a brother gave Mary someone to talk to about their unique immigrant experience.
• Representations of East Asian men in the media and how this differs from representations of East Asian women.
• How Mary chose to bring up the issue of race in a non-prescriptive way.
• What Mary has learned from her characters about what it means to break free.


Mary H.K. Choi - http://www.choitotheworld.com/
Mary H.K. Choi on Instagram - https://www.instagram.com/choitotheworld/?hl=en
Mary H.K. Choi on Twitter - https://twitter.com/choitotheworld?ref_src=twsrc%5Egoogle%7Ctwcamp%5Eserp%7Ctwgr%5Eauthor
Yolk - https://www.amazon.com/Yolk-Mary-H-K-Choi/dp/1534446001
Emergency Contact - https://www.amazon.com/Emergency-Contact-Mary-H-Choi/dp/1534408967
Permanent Record - https://www.amazon.com/Permanent-Record-Mary-H-Choi/dp/1534445978
‎Hey, Cool Life! - https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/hey-cool-life/id1448378735
‎Hey, Cool Job! - https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/hey-cool-job/id984365487
Break the Good Girl Myth - https://majomolfino.com/book
Majo Molfino - https://majomolfino.com/
HEROINE (Podcast) - https://majomolfino.com/podcast

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