87 pages • 2 hours readMichelle Zauner
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Chapter Summaries & Analyses
Zauner is frustrated by her mother’s attempts to exclude her from the cancer diagnosis and treatment, a decision that is rooted in Chongmi’s fear they will fight if Zauner comes home to Eugene. Zauner uses this slight as a jumping-off point to talk about her legacy as a difficult child.
At an early age, Zauner earned the nickname “Famous Bad Girl” in her house, but it really became a problem in her teen years, as she struggled with depression and in school (50). Her father claimed she got it from him: He is a recovering addict who spent time in jail as a teenager for selling methamphetamine. Zauner’s mother took her bad behavior as a personal slight and became even more strict in response.
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One of the few freedoms Zauner had was sleeping over at her friend Nicole’s house. Nicole’s mother Colette had an easygoing relationship with her daughter, and Zauner saw Colette (a dreamer and free spirit who longed to open a café) as an ideal mother. Zauner speaks of her teenage feelings of resentment toward her own mother’s lack of ambition; only now does she realize how meaningful a life her mother had as a homemaker.
During this time, Zauner began to flourish as a musician.