A Book Review:
Free Food For Millionaires
by Min Jin Lee
I received this book from a publisher and I must confess, I had not heard of it.
I am a librarian, yes, but an out of work one at present raising children, so I am not on top of all that is literary! I was anxious to start this novel, although again, I must confess, it is not one I may have chosen from a book rack, simply because I read....well... fluff- easy reading- fun these days.
I have read my share of hard core lit in college and grad school, and do enjoy stretching my brain from time to time, but mostly, NO.
From Chapter 1 of this book, I was captivated by the depth of the story.
I can usually pull down a James Patterson in one afternoon, but this book was detailed and more intense to read.
The main character, Casey Han is a Korean American- daughter to poor, working class immigrants. The differences in culture are apparent and stark from the first chapter- and through the course of the story. The ways of American culture, prejudice and socioeconomic status are a harsh reality from the eyes of Casey and her family- a world I never imagined until encountering Lee's tale. While Casey and her sister aim to conquer the American front, her mother and father cling to their Korean ways as they try to merely hang on to their existence.
Even the title, a comment on all the free food the wealthy in American society are privy to, is a comment on how an immigrant may find our culture confusing and well, maybe backwards!
While this book was a deeper read than I usually embark upon, I enjoyed the true novel sense that Lee was able to bring back with her descriptive and telling passages.
It was refreshing again to analyze character conflicts between Casey and herself, others and society-- and try to predict the storyline as it progressed.
Casey struggles with career in the New York financial district and love choices with a forbidden American lover. With family abuse and deep secrets from page one, Casey ultimately discovers her life may not be as she had intended for it to be- but it is her life to live- and she does it proudly.
Her choices are always motivated by a sense of pride in herself, her accomplishments and, yes even her heritage, as much as she hates to admit it.
While not a fluffy, fun read, Free Food For Millionaires is an deep, enlightening modern novel that you will be glad you finished.
The author has a book event scheduled on April 22nd at the Alabama Booksmith at 6:00pm.