Korean American Books

Summaries and reviews of fiction and nonfiction books by Korean American authors,
books about Korean Americans and Korea, and Korean literature in English translation,
including some academic works and a sampling on the Korean War

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Free Food for Millionaires, by Min Jin Lee


A New York City saga peopled with insecure, wounded, and angry resentful characters. Casey, the protagonist, is somewhat aimless, dangerously impulsive and self-destructive. Her only sibling, Tina, is the “nice” and obedient daughter. Her parents, operators of a dry cleaners, are hard-working Korean immigrants who expect their children to become doctors and lawyers. Casey's circle of friends, family and their individual circles, a mentor, workmates, add up to roughly 20 individuals whose thoughts and feelings are explored in roving points of view.

Kicked out of the house, without job and focus, Casey’s search for herself emphasizes shopping, body image, how much things cost, big name schools, business prestige, money, status. Cigarette-addicted Casey also is conflicted about her Christian faith and growing agnosticism, though this theme doesn’t fully play out. She does find something solid in understanding how many and how much others care for her.

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