Thursday, September 3, 2009

Megan Suggests: Free Food for Millionaires

Free Food for Millionaires by Min Jin Lee

Lee mixes feminism and cultural awareness to create a sweeping story of first-generation Korean Americans finding their way between the old world and the new. Casey Han, her 22-year-old heroine, is having trouble turning her Princeton economics degree into a job. When her authoritarian father throws her out, she goes to her white boyfriend for solace only to find him in bed with two sorority girls. Just as all looks lost, she meets a rich school acquaintance, Ella Shim, who offers her a place to stay and convinces her fiance to help Casey get a job. Casey's taste for expensive clothes keeps her in debt, Ella's shyness makes it easy for her husband to cheat on her, and Casey's father's coldness makes it hard for her mother to ignore kindness from another quarter. With very broad strokes and great detail, Lee paints colorful three-dimensional characters and outlines inter-generational and cultural struggles brilliantly.

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