Min Jin Lee Free Food for Millionaires Reviews

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“Free Food for Millionaires ”


written by Harriet Klausner on 16/05/2007

Free Food for Millionaires
Min Jin Lee
Warner, May 2007, $24.95
ISBN: 0446581089

In Queens, her Korean born father Joseph thinks it is time for his Americanized twenty two years old daughter Casey Han, a recent Princeton graduate, to find a job while also demanding she follow the old country tradition. In anger, because of her disrespect for him, he slaps her and kicks Casey out of the house. With her economics degree in hand and her affluent upper crust lifestyle, Casey goes to her boyfriend's apartment, but he is to busy with other women. She moves into Manhattan's Carlyle Hotel although she will have problems paying off the credit card tab that she runs up there.

However, the recent graduate's luck changes when she meets old friend Ella Shim. Ella allows Casey to move in with her while her fianc manages to get her work at his investment firm in which the pay stinks and the abuse rolls downhill into the ooze beneath the food chain plopping onto her. Casey also dates Ella's cousin Unu.

This is a terrific look at the American melting pot that assimilates second generations so much so that the gap between them and the immigration generation is wider than the Pacific Ocean. The story line is first rate when Casey is front and center even as she deals with stereotypical characters like her father and her friends. When the plot turns towards making its anecdotal premise into a sweeping generalization by enabling the audience to see inside the heads of much of the ensemble the assertion feels forced and loses steam. Still readers will enjoy this strong character study especially when Min Jin Lee focuses on the Americanization of Casey.

Harriet Klausner

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