Free Food for Millionaires by Min Jin Lee

September 18, 2008

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.