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All You Can Ever Know

A Memoir
Narrated by: Janet Song
Length: 6 hrs and 42 mins
4 out of 5 stars (129 ratings)
Regular price: $17.49
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Publisher's Summary

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 the same warmth, candor, and startling insight that has made her a beloved voice, 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 for anyone who has ever struggled to figure out where they belong.

©2018 Nicole Chung (P)2018 HighBridge, a division of Recorded Books

Critic Reviews

"[Narrator Janet] Song's narration is sensitive as she delivers details of subtle discrimination against Chung and her nagging questions about her biological parents.... Listeners are immersed in an emotional journey of one woman's discovery of her past as she begins her own family. This contemporary exploration of identity will resonate with many listeners." (AudioFile)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
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  • T
  • 10-09-18

Excellent writing, interesting memoir, however

As an adoptee and adoptive parent I really enjoyed this book but the narrater is horrible, her voice is set at a odd flat tone and it sounds like she had water in her mouth while talking. I genuinely winced though the last chapters because I desperately wanted to hear the conclusion.The heavy handed vocals brought the storyline into a really overwrought place that the actual text did not seem to match. Basically someone else should do the audio and this would be a 5/5 stars all the way.

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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Disappointed

As an adopted child myself I was looking forward to this book, but I'm really disappointed. It's a thin story and it's repetitive, but worst of all is the narrator. What an annoying voice for an audio book! I'm returning this one for sure.

8 of 9 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Beautiful story!

I really enjoyed the book, not understanding in the beginning where it would go. It's twisted and turn into a beautiful story of growth and change.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Great for other Korean adoptees

I have never thought about my birth parents, as I am one of the older adoptees from Korea, brought over by Holt (now Holt International), and knew i probably wasn’t registered in as an orphan but more likely, left somewhere my birth mother hoped I would be found. It wasn’t until the big DNA match tests started up that got me started thinking about the possibility of finding distant relatives. And also, the death of my adoptive parents a few years back. Although I know they wouldn’t have minded me wanting to know, they had bern forthright with the possibility being slim to none, so I never grew up thinking that someday I would find them.

This book voices many things I have thought and vaguely wondered about but never said aloud... not out of fear, recrimination from my adoptive parents, but more as a waste of my time to go down that path. I have had the opportunity to meet with other KAs (Korean adoptees) to learn their stories which has been eye-opening to say the least. I just assumed everyone had been adopted into wonderful Christian homes as I was. Sad to say, it wasn’t but hopefully many are pushing past their imperfect childhoods and creating a better future for themselves.

It is a great read from an adoptee’s perspective, possibly helpful for new parents considering international adoptions.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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interesting look at one person's adoption story

im adopted so thought this would be interesting. i think it emphasizes how different each person's experience is. she never explains why she now uses Chung as her last name, despite her marriage, her adoption, everything. as an adoptee, i can't imagine hurting my adoptive parents like that. she never really talks about any struggle with her parents so it confuses me as to why she'd want to reject this part of them. she has such anger towards her birth mother but yet she's never really spoken to her, given her a chance to explain or apologize. she also doesn't talk about her sister Jessica much. my story is so different, yet there are shadows of similarity: trying to fit in, in a white world, trying to develop a sense of self, dealing with racism, wondering what your relatives look like. but her absolute need to feel like she wasn't rejected, that her parents shouldn't have wanted to give her up, is foreign to me. or was always fine to me.. i'd found a great family, so it didn't matter if my birth family didn't want me. i guess if i felt more rejected by my adoptive family, there might have been that, but that was not the case. the absolute hope that she could connect to her sister was interesting as well. all those pulls. just not my experience. an interesting read, none the less.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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Validating to Adoptees

As an adopted person, I feel so validated my Nicole and her story. I found myself on her pages and in her experiences. This is a must read.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • KMJ
  • Wake Forest, North Carolina United States
  • 10-24-18

Poorly written

Chung is not a good writer. She needed a better editor. This is a great topic waiting for a more nuanced and less self-centered treatment.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Windows and Mirrors

Nicole Chung masterfully captures the lived experience of a Korean adoptee in all its complex, beautiful, and painful ways. As a Korean adoptee myself, I have never had someone so closely mirror my own tangled and complicated feelings. I am filled with gratitude for her courage to tell her story.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Phyllis
  • Glendale, WI, United States
  • 10-08-18

A bit preachy for my taste...

Interesting and informative but the angst and hand-wringing made it read more like a therapy session than a book. The last chapter went on and on with little new to add as a summary. Important topic and good case study but not a great book. Performance sounded too girlish for an adult narrator.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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A journey of healing

A wonderfully written memoir. It brought tears to my eyes. I bought the audio version and could not stop listening; I finished it in two days.