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Free Food for Millionaires

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Overview

"Competence can be a curse." So begins Min Jin Lee's epic novel about class, society, and identity. Casey Han's four years at Princeton have given her many things: "a refined diction, an enviable golf handicap, a popular white boyfriend, an agnostic's closeted passion for reading the Bible, and a magna cum laude degree in economics. But no job and a number of bad habits."
Casey's parents, who live in Queens, are Korean immigrants working in a dry cleaner, desperately trying to hold onto their culture and ...

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Free Food for Millionaires

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Overview

"Competence can be a curse." So begins Min Jin Lee's epic novel about class, society, and identity. Casey Han's four years at Princeton have given her many things: "a refined diction, an enviable golf handicap, a popular white boyfriend, an agnostic's closeted passion for reading the Bible, and a magna cum laude degree in economics. But no job and a number of bad habits."
Casey's parents, who live in Queens, are Korean immigrants working in a dry cleaner, desperately trying to hold onto their culture and identity. Their daughter, on the other hand, has entered into the upper echelon of rarified American society via scholarships. But after graduation, Casey's trust-fund friends see only opportunity and choices while Casey sees the reality of having expensive habits without the means to sustain them. As Casey navigates Manhattan, we see her life and the lives of those around her: her sheltered mother, scarred father, her friend Ella who's always been the good Korean girl, Ella's ambitious Korean husband and his Caucasian mistress, Casey's white fiancé, and then her Korean boyfriend, all culminating in a portrait of New York City and its world of haves and have-nots.
FREE FOOD FOR MILLIONAIRES offers up a fresh exploration of the complex layers we inhabit both in society and within ourselves. Inspired by 19th century novels such as Vanity Fair and Middlemarch, Min Jin Lee examines maintaining identity within changing communities. This is a remarkably assured debut from a writer to watch.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780446699853
  • Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
  • Publication date: 4/9/2008
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 592
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Min Jin Lee

Min Jin Lee went to Yale, where she was awarded both the Wright Prize for Nonfiction and the Veech Prize for Fiction. Her work has also been featured on NPR's Selected Shorts and anthologized in To Be Real (Doubleday, 1995) and Breeder (Seal Press, 2001).
She lives in New York with her husband and son.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 46 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(25)

4 Star

(10)

3 Star

(7)

2 Star

(1)

1 Star

(3)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 46 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 24, 2008

    I love love love this Book

    I loved this book. I couldn't put it down, and with bated breath I turned the pages for the upcoming drama....

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 9, 2008

    A reviewer

    Though this book was written with an Asian American experience in mind, and has done an excellent job of doing so, Free Food for Millionaires is a book about New York and about those why are trying to make in the city. The quintessential New Yorker if there every was one. The book makes honest observations about Asian Americans without sounding preachy or groveling for sympathy. This is not a 'Please try to understand us' type of book. This is an honest and entertaining book that just tell it like it is.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 14, 2008

    I LOVED THIS BOOK!

    Even though the book was over 500 pages and it took me about 2 weeks to read it, I didn't want it to end. Lee is a very talented writer. I am not a Korean American or young, but I do live in Manhattan and I enjoyed all facets of this story. In fact, I've recommended it to my daughter!

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 18, 2010

    Great exposure of culture of korean girls growing up in the states

    Great exposure of culture of korean girls growing up in the states

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 2, 2012

    Best book written by korean american author.

    Highly recommend it.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 25, 2008

    A reviewer

    i was first drawn to the book for a refreshing perspective but within the first pages, found it yet another cliche coming of age book with a protagonist that was exceptionally annoying in her britney spears-esque persona

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 12, 2008

    A reviewer

    I would actually give this a 3 1/2 but that wasn't an option. The first half of the book, I was enthralled and thought it was a real 'find.' When I catch myself thinking about the characters during non-reading times as if they are real people, I know the author has done something right. But as it wore on, I wasn't so enchanted. She tends to go into detail on every person who plays a role, however small. There were so many subplots going on, it could have easily been made into three books. I do agree with the reviewer who suggested it would make a great TV mini-series. I also agree with the reviewer who gave it a 1 that the characters are two-dimensional. Casey's basic personality never really changes from beginning to end, and she began to grate on my nerves. Ditto with Ella and Casey's mother. Also, in the second half it seemed to devolve into a soap opera genre, as if Lee were trying to cram all possible social and moral situations into her story--the affair between Casey's mother and the choir director and subsequent miscarriage, for example. Finally at the end everything is quicky and neatly tied up, 'happily ever after' but not realistic. Still, it was a terrific first effort by Lee, and for awhile it gave me hours of pleasure.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 14, 2008

    One of the best books that i've ever read.

    Min Jin Lee is a talented writer. I cannot wait to read her next novel.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 19, 2007

    Oustanding!

    I was so disapointed when I finished it because the book was so well written! The author is so talented, I hope she writes another one quickly!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 12, 2007

    A reviewer

    I didn't want to stop reading this book. It drew me in and I couldn't seem to stop reading it. I want to know what happens to the characters. A sequel would be wonderful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 5, 2007

    Engrossing Read!

    This book was multi-faceted and it was a truly enjoyable book. This is a must read! And I was sad when I finished the book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 20, 2007

    A reviewer

    I was very impressed with this first time author and her in depth grasp of people and their individual way of coping with their particular world. To be able to grasp each individual and their world is a mark of a true writer. Also a terrific book to read to understand the Wall Street world!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 29, 2007

    A reviewer

    Min Jin Lee's Free Food for Millionaires is a remarkable book. It is both incredibly compelling as storytelling-- I couldn't put it down--and it has layers upon layers of metaphor, cultural commentary and literary references (from Dante to the Bible) for those who want to look deeper. Any English professor (or book club leader) looking for literature that will inspire endless analysis--while entertaining readers with plenty of sex, humor and intrigue--need look no further. I was left hoping for a sequel. The characters are so colorfully and richly drawn that they come alive. The reader becomes completely invested in them and can't help but want to know about their futures. I know the Ivy League/Wall Street world she describes, and she captures it to perfection. While I generally prefer books to film or TV adaptations, this is tailor-made for an HBO series, and it would be brilliant.

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  • Posted December 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    Great storytelling

    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 a ménage de trois. 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 fiancé 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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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 19, 2007

    A Moving Novel of Life

    This book had me hooked from the very first chapter, when we watch as fresh-out-of-college Casey gets slapped repeatedly by her father for speaking back to him. Min Jin Lee has written a deeply intense novel about class struggles and race, money and love, against the backdrop of NYC. Hearing the thoughts and reasonings inside every character's head only serves to enhance the experience. It makes for an intimate knowledge of why people do the things they do and say the things they say. And while Casey can sometimes be utterly unloveable, the secondary characters of Ella, Tina, Leah, and even Unu fill in the gaps and hold your attention tight, right until the end. Highly recommended.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 12, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted October 28, 2008

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted January 5, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted May 20, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted July 19, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 46 Customer Reviews

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