Free Food for Millionaires

Free Food for Millionaires

by Min Jin Lee

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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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780641856150
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Publication date: 05/22/2007
Pages: 563
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.70(d)

About the Author

Min Jin Lee went to Yale College where she was awarded both the Henry Wright Prize for Nonfiction and the James Ashmun Veech Prize for Fiction.

Shelly Frasier has recorded over fifty audiobooks. She can be heard narrating such classics as Tarzan of the Apes by Edgar Rice Burroughs and Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll.

Read an Excerpt

Free Food for Millionaires


By Min Jin Lee

Grand Central Publishing

Copyright © 2007 Min Jin Lee
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-0-446-58108-0


Chapter One

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Competence can be a curse.

As a capable young woman, Casey Han felt compelled to choose respectability and success. But it was glamour and insight that she craved. A Korean immigrant who'd grown up in a dim, bluecollar neighborhood in Queens, she'd hoped for a bright, glittering life beyond the workhorse struggles of her parents, who managed a Manhattan dry cleaner.

Casey was unusually tall for a Korean, nearly five feet eight, slender, and self-conscious about what she wore. She kept her black hair shoulder length, fastidiously powdered her nose, and wore winecolored lipstick without variation. To save money, she wore her eyeglasses at home, but outside she wore contact lenses to correct her nearsightedness. She did not believe she was pretty but felt she had something-some sort of workable sex appeal. She admired feminine modesty and looked down at women who tried to appear too sexy. For a girl of only twenty-two, Casey Han had numerous theories of beauty and sexuality, but the essence of her philosophy was that allure trumped obvious display. She'd read that Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis advised a woman to dress like a column, and Casey never failed to follow that instruction.

Seated in the spacious linoleum-covered kitchen of her parents' rent-controlled two-bedroom in Elmhurst, Casey looked out ofplace in her white linen shirt and white cotton slacks-dressed as if she were about to have a gin and tonic brought to her on a silver tray. Next to her at the Formica-topped table, her father, Joseph Han, could've easily passed for her grandfather. He filled his tumbler with ice for his first whiskey of the evening. An hour earlier, he'd returned from a Saturday of sorting laundry at the Sutton Place drop shop that he ran for Mr. Kang, a wealthy Korean who owned a dozen dry-cleaning stores. Joseph and his daughter Casey did not speak to each other. Casey's younger sister, Tina-a Bronx Science Westinghouse finalist, vice president of the Campus Christian Crusade at MIT, and a premed-was their father's favorite. A classical Korean beauty, Tina was the picture of the girls' mother, Leah, in her youth.

Leah bustled about cooking their first family dinner in months, singing hymns while Tina chopped scallions. Although not yet forty, Leah had prematurely gray hair that obscured her smooth pale brow. At seventeen, she'd married Joseph, who was then thirty-six and a close friend of her eldest brother. On their wedding night, Casey was conceived, and two years later, Tina was born.

Now it was a Saturday night in June, a week after Casey's college graduation. Her four years at Princeton had given her a refined diction, an enviable golf handicap, wealthy friends, a popular white boyfriend, an agnostic's closeted passion for reading the Bible, and a magna cum laude degree in economics. But she had no job and a number of bad habits.

Virginia Craft, Casey's roommate of four years, had tried to convince her to give up the habit that taxed her considerably while she sat next to her brooding father. At the moment, Casey would've bartered her body for a cigarette. The promise of lighting one on the building roof after dinner was all that kept her seated in the kitchen-her bare foot tapping lightly on the floor. But the college graduate had other problems insoluble by a smoke. Since she had no job, she'd returned to her folks' two-bedroom on Van Kleeck Street Seventeen years earlier, in the year of the bicentennial, the family of four had immigrated to America. And Leah's terror of change had kept them in the same apartment unit. It all seemed a bit pathetic.

The smoking, among other things, was corroding Casey's sense of being an honest person. She prided herself on being forthright, though she often dodged her parents. Her biggest secret was Jay Currie-her white American boyfriend. On the previous Sunday night after having some very nice sex, Jay had suggested, his elbow crooked over his pillow and head cradled in his hand, "Move in with me. Consider this, Miss Han: sexual congress on tap." Her parents also had no idea that she wasn't a virgin and that she'd been on the pill since she was fifteen. Being at home made Casey anxious, and she continually felt like patting down her pockets for matches. Consequently, she found herself missing Princeton-even the starchy meals at Charter, her eating club. But nostalgia would do her no good. Casey needed a plan to escape Elmhurst.

Last spring, against Jay's advice, Casey had applied to only one investment banking program. She'd learned, after all the sign-up sheets were filled, that Kearn Davis was the bank that every econ major wanted in 1993. Yet she reasoned that her grades were superior to Jay's, and she could sell anything. At the Kearn Davis interview, Casey greeted the pair of female interviewers wearing a yellow silk suit and cracked a Nancy Reagan joke, thinking it might make a feminist connection. The two women were wearing navy and charcoal wool, and they let Casey hang herself in fifteen minutes flat. Showing her out, they waved, not bothering to shake her hand.

There was always law school. She'd managed to get into Columbia. But her friends' fathers were beleaguered lawyers-their lives unappealing. Casey's lawyer customers at Sabine's, the department store where she'd worked weekends during the school year, advised her, "For money-go to B school. To save lives, med." The unholy trinity of law, business, and medicine seemed the only faith in town. It was arrogant, perhaps rash, for an immigrant girl from the boroughs to want to choose her own trade. Nevertheless, Casey wasn't ready to relinquish her dream, however vague, for a secure profession. Without telling her father, she wrote Columbia to defer a year.

Her mother was singing a hymn in her remarkable voice while she ladled scallion sauce over the roasted porgy. Leah's voice trilled at the close of the verse, "Waking or sleeping, thy presence my light," and then with a quiet inhale, she began, "Be thou my wisdom, and thou my true word ..." She'd left the store early that morning to shop and to cook her daughters' favorite dishes. Tina, her baby, had returned on Thursday night, and now both her girls were home. Her heart felt full, and she prayed for Joseph to be in a good mood. She eyeballed the whiskey level in the jug-size bottle of Dewar's. It had not shifted much from the night before. In their twenty-two years of marriage, Leah had discovered that it was better when Joseph had a glass or two with his dinner than none. Her husband wasn't a drunk-the sort who went to bars, fooled around, or lost his salary envelope. He was a hard worker. But without his whiskey, he couldn't fall sleep. One of her sisters-in-law had told her how to keep a man content: "Never deny a man his bop, sex, and sleep."

Leah carried the fish to the table, wearing a blue apron over her plum-colored housedress. At the sight of Casey pouring her second glass of water, Leah clamped her lips, giving her soft, oval face a severe appearance. Mr. Jun, the ancient choir director, had pointed out this anxiety tic to her prior to her solos, shouting, "Show us your joy! You are singing to God!"

Tina, of course, the one who noticed everything, thought Casey was just asking for it. Her own mind had been filled with the pleasant thoughts of her boyfriend, Chul, whom she'd promised to phone that night, but even so, she could feel Casey's restlessness. Maybe her sister would consider how much trouble their mother had gone through to make dinner.

It was the water drinking-this seemingly innocent thing. For always, Joseph believed that the girls should eat heartily at the table, grateful for the food and for the care given to it, but Casey habitually picked at her dinner, and he blamed Casey's not eating on her excessive water consumption. Casey denied this accusation, but her father was on the mark. Back in junior high school, Casey had read in a fashion magazine that if you drank three glasses of water before a meal, you'd eat less. It took great effort on Casey's part to wear a size 6 or smaller; after all, she was a girl with a large frame. Her weight also shifted by five pounds depending on how much she smoked. Her mother was thin from perpetual activity, and her younger sister, who was short like her father, had a normal build, and Tina disapproved of dieting. A brilliant student of both physics and philosophy, Tina had once scolded Casey when she was on Weight Watchers: "The world is awash in hunger. How could you cause your own?"

Casey's water drinking at the table was not lost on her father.

At five feet three, Joseph was compact, yet his rich, booming voice gave him the sound of a bigger man. He was bald except for a wisp of baby fuzz on the back of his head, and his baldness did not grieve him except in the winters, when he had to wear a gray felt fedora to protect his head and large-lobed ears. He was only fifty-eight but looked older, more like a vigorous man of seventy, especially beside his young wife. Leah was his second wife. His first, a girl his age whom he'd loved deeply, died from tuberculosis after a year of marriage and before she bore him any children. Joseph adored his second wife, perhaps more so because of his loss. He appreciated Leah's good health and her docile Christian nature, and he was still attracted to her pretty face and delicate form, which belied her resilience. He made love to her every Friday evening. She had given him two daughters, though the elder looked nothing like her mother.

Casey drained her water glass and rested it on the table. Then she reached for the pitcher.

"I'm not Rockefeller, you know," Joseph said.

Casey's father didn't look at her when he said this, but he was addressing her. There was no one else in the room who needed to hear how she didn't have a trust fund. Right away, Leah and Tina moved from the counter to their seats at the table, hoping to dissipate the tension. Leah opened her mouth to speak but hesitated.

Casey refilled her glass with water.

"I can't support you forever," he said. "Your father is not a millionaire."

Casey's first thought was, And whose fault is that?

Tina knew when not to speak. She unfolded her thin paper napkin and spread it across her lap. In her mind, she ticked off the Ten Commandments-this thing she did when nervous; and when she felt particularly anxious, she recited the Apostle's Creed and the Lord's Prayer back to back.

"When I was your age, I sold kimbop on the streets. Not one piece"-Joseph raised his voice dramatically-"I couldn't afford to eat one piece of what I was selling." He lost himself in the memory of standing in a dusty corner of Pusan's marketplace, waiting for paying customers while shooing away the street urchins who were hungrier than he was.

Using two spoons, Leah filleted the fish from its skeleton and served Joseph first. Casey wondered why her mother never stopped these self-indulgent reveries. Growing up, she'd heard countless monologues about her father's privations. At the end of 1950, a temporary passage to the South had been secured for the sixteen-year-old Joseph-the baby of a wealthy merchant family-to prevent his conscription in the Red Army. But a few weeks after young Joseph landed in Pusan, the southernmost tip of the country, the war split the nation in two, and he never again saw his mother, six elder brothers, and two sisters, the family estate near Pyongyang. As a war refugee, the once pampered teenager ate garbage, slept on cold beaches, and stayed in filthy camps as easy prey for the older refugees who'd lost their sense and morals. Then in 1955, two years after the war ended, his young bride died from TB. With no money or support, he'd abandoned his hopes to be a medical doctor. Having missed college, he ran errands for tips from American soldiers, ignored his persistent nightmares, worked as a food vendor, and taught himself English from a dictionary. Before coming to America with his wife and two little girls, Joseph labored for twenty years as a foreman at a lightbulb factory outside of Seoul. Leah's oldest brother, Hoon-the first friend Joseph made in the South-had sponsored their immigration to New York and given them their American first names. Then, two years later, Hoon died of pancreatic cancer. Everyone seemed to die on Joseph. He was the last remnant of his clan and had no male heirs.

Casey wasn't indifferent to her father's pain. But she'd decided she didn't want to hear about it anymore. His losses weren't hers, and she didn't want to hold them. She was in Queens, and it was 1993. But at the table it was 1953, and the Korean War refused to end.

Joseph was gearing up to tell the story of his mother's white jade brooch, the last item he'd possessed of hers. Of course he'd had to sell it to buy medicine for his first wife, who ended up dying anyway. Yes, yes, Casey wanted to say, war was brutal and poverty cruel, but enough already. She'd never suffer the way he did. Wasn't that the point of them coming to America, after all?

Casey rolled her eyes, and Leah wished she wouldn't do that. She didn't mind these stories, really. Leah imagined Joseph's first wife as a kind of invalid girl saint. There were no photographs of her, but Leah felt she must have been pretty-all romantic heroines were. A lady who died so young (only twenty) would have been kind and good and beautiful, Leah thought. Joseph's stories were how he kept his memories alive. He'd lost everyone, and she knew from the fitful way he slept that the Japanese occupation and the war returned to him at night. His mother and his first wife were the ones he had loved the most as a young man. And Leah knew what it was to grieve; her own mother had died when she was eight. It was possible to long for the scent of your mother's skin, the feel of her coarse chima fabric against your face; to lie down for the evening and shut your eyes tight and wish to see her sitting there at the edge of your pallet at dawn. Her mother had died from consumption, so she and Joseph's first wife were entwined in Leah's imagination.

Joseph smiled ruefully at Tina. "The night before I left on the ship, my mother sewed twenty gold rings in the lining of my coat with her own hand. She had these thick rheumatic fingers, and the servant girls usually did the sewing, but ..." He lifted his right hand in the air as if he could make his mother's hand appear in place of his own, then clasped the right one with his left. "She wrapped each ring with cotton batting so there'd be no noise when I moved around." Joseph marveled at his mother's thoughtfulness, recalling sharply how every time he had to sell a ring, he'd unstitch the white blanket thread that his mother had sewn into the coat fabric with her heavy needle. "She said to me, 'Jun-oh-ah, sell these whenever you need to. Eat good hot food. When you return, my boy, we shall have such a feast.'" The yellowish whites of Joseph's eyes welled up.

"She unclasped the brooch from her choggori, then she handed it to me. You see, I didn't understand. I thought I was supposed to return home in a few days. Three or four, at the most." His voice grew softer. "She didn't expect me to sell the pin. The rings, yes, but not ..."

Casey drew breath, then exhaled. It must have been the thirtieth time she'd heard this tale. She made a face. "I know. Not the pin," she said.

Aghast, Tina nudged her sister's knee with her own.

"What did you say?" Joseph narrowed the slant of his small, elegant eyes. His sad expression grew cold.

"Nothing," Casey said. "Nothing."

Leah pleaded silently with a look, hoping Casey would restrain herself. But her daughter refused to notice her.

Joseph picked up his tumbler for a drink. He wanted to stay with the memory of his mother, the leaf green silk of her jacket, the cool whiteness of the pin. He'd never forget the day he left the jeweler with the bit of money he got in exchange for the pin, his hasty walk to the herbalist to buy the foul-smelling twigs and leaves that never cured his wife.

Wanting to create some distraction, Leah removed her apron and then folded it conspicuously. "Tina, would you pray for us?" she asked.

(Continues...)



Excerpted from Free Food for Millionaires by Min Jin Lee Copyright © 2007 by Min Jin Lee. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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From the Publisher

“Free Food for Millionaires stakes out new ground for twenty-first-century American literature, territory both profoundly enlightening and utterly enjoyable.” —-David Henry Hwang, playwright, M. Butterfly

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Free Food for Millionaires 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 63 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved this book. I couldn't put it down, and with bated breath I turned the pages for the upcoming drama....
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great exposure of culture of korean girls growing up in the states
raq929 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book is definitely not the kind of book I usually enjoy, but I have to admit that I liked it a lot. One of Lee's stated goals is to portray Asian American characters in a realistic way, and I think she does just that. The characters are flawed, conflicted, and undeniably human, in a way that will appeal to all different kinds of readers. She explores the struggle of Asian Americans in their relationships with family, friends, boyfriends and husbands, and how their cultural and immigrant identity factors into their lives and decisions. A portrayal of Asian Americans as human beings instead of stereotypical characters was long overdue, and this book was extremely well written and well worth reading.
cmeatto on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Smart and tall young Korean woman, a Princeton grad, takes on food stamps and Wall Street. Someone in the New York Times called it "accomplished." Not really. Its various subplots would have better been served as short stories. Korean culture did not, in my opinion, shine through.
bearette24 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed this book much more than I expected. It felt like a Victorian novel - long (in a good way), densely populated, with wide scope and strong character development. Almost all of the characters felt real to me; they were rich with contradiction and displayed nuanced emotions. I found Min Jin Lee's exploration of class issues among poor Korean immigrants, Wall Street bankers, and Ivy League graduates (with several of the characters belonging to all three groups) fascinating.
lindawwilson on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Enjoyed the book. Couldn't put it down and pretty much read it straight through. However, I did not really like any of the characters. It is unusual for me to like a book and not like any of the characters. Nevertheless, this book is worth reading. Gives some insight into the new generation of ivy league graduates that are out there now.
ddirmeyer on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Min Jin Lee immediately pulls the reader into her novel about Korean Americans in New York City in the 1990s. Casey is caught between her parents and their lower socioeconomic standing and the Princeton and Wall Street worlds she finds herself in as a young adult. Casey is quite a flawed protagonist - never realizing her potential or her place in life.I usually love a novel where the characters are flawed and find them much more believable. I never enjoy a book where everyone has a happy ending. However, Lee created a novel where most of the characters just didn't seem to engage me. I found it hard to truly care about them. Add to that the fact that the main character of Casey seems to constantly throw her life away without any character development or growth. When I finished the novel, I realized the last few chapters had veered off from where I felt the novel was heading and our ending was not in the least bit satisfying.I can see how this novel would be a good book club choice in that the characters have so many flaws it would lend itself to lively discussion. But as a novel, I felt it was less than ideal.
verka6811 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
GREAT book - cannot say enough good things about. I think anyone who experienced graduating from college, and struggling to figure out what to do with themselves can relate to this one. Great writing and a definite page turned. Don't be intimidated by the size of the book!
Hermione2 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
First novel, entertaining but a bit too erotic. Characters are developed but not realistic nor sympathetic
goldiebear on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
My goodness, this book took me over a month to read! It was too long in my opinion. There could have been a lot cut out and the book would have been just as good. Don't get me wrong, it obviously kept me intereseted for 552 pages. I enjoyed the changing view points. The Korean immigrant (or immigrant expriences in general) are always interesting to me. All of the characters had clever, interesting storylines. The ending left some to be desired though. I thought more loose ends could have be tied up.
stonelaura on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This 500+ page book is all about relationships, love and finding your true path in life. It is at times enthralling and at other time repetitive and oh-so-long. Casey Han, a talented Princeton graduate who¿s already been accepted to Harvard Law, postpones grad school and spends the rest of the book dating various people, upsetting and alienating her conservative, traditional parents, and taking the long path to finding her true role in life ¿ designing and making hats, something any reader could have predicted in the first few chapters. At first the constant changing to the internal thoughts of each character and the details about even peripheral characters is a bit confusing, but Lee finally settles on the core group as they stumble their way toward true meaning and happiness in life. If this book were 200 pages shorter I could actually recommend it to patrons.
lieslmayerson on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
While I was impressed with some of the prose and found parts entertaining, the top-level story is one that has been done one too many times. The Asian family aspect added some depth, but not enough for what it aspires to be. I do not regret having read it, but I would not reread it and would not recommend it.
LyzzyBee on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Acquired via BookCrossing 29 Aug 2009 - at the Rugby meetupI thought this was an NSS gift and was a bit worried about what I'd thought of it - if I'd realised I'd just grabbed it at a meetup I might not have persisted with it.I think this was trying to be a Bonfire Of The Vanities for Korean-Americans. Set in New York, we meet Casey, arguing with her Dad, not at all traditional, obsessed with hats and trying for a career in Wall Street. Her parents, sister, friends, lovers and colleagues at the financial institution and a department store form the rest of the characters. Unfortunately, although there was some interest, I wasn't really engaged with any of the characters, and there seemed to be a rather cold authorial voice, and an awful lot of "telling" rather than "showing". To be honest, I don't think I'd have completed this long book if it hadn't been the only one I had with me on a trip over New Year's Eve - by the time we came back I was over half way through and it seemed a waste not to persist with it!
dudara on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This debut novel from Min Jin Lee tackles the Korean immigrant experience. Our protagonist is Casey Han, a Princeton graduate who has acheived academically, has moved outside her family's social circle and yet cannot seem to break into the established society that she thinks she craves. On the other hand, we meet her immigrant parents, who have worked hard all their lives in a dry-cleaning shop. Although we realise throughout the book that they are not poor, neither are they wealthy and they cling to their Korean background and ways. The portrait of Casey's mother througout the book is especially charming. Casey struggles through her life, breaking with her father's controlling ways but remains unable to find stability in her life. The whole story appears to be a tale of non-committal on Casey's part. At the start she finds it within herself to break up with her lover, as she cannot picture them together forever. However, throughout most of the novel, we cannot find the same determination within her. She is prepared to work two jobs to earn a wage, earning enough to keep ticking over, yet she never takes a step towards more.Towards the end of the story, Casey makes a big decision. Having worked hard to secure an internship and gain an offer of employment, she decides to turn it down. She is on the cusp of a breakthrough and this where the author rus out of steam. As a result, this intriguing and captivating tale runs out of steam and becomes a large volume with no real ending.Casey's friends and family follow their own lives in this book, with their stories running in parallel to Casey's. The trials and tribulations of love, marriage and affairs are explored with beautiful nuances and add an incredible tone to this book.Despite enjoying this book immeasurably, and racing through the pages, I was ultimately left discontent at the end. Questions about the immigrant experience and the quest to find one's own path in life are raised and treated in this novel, but there's nothing quite like a good ending.
jiles2 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I found this book disappointing, but not in the writing. More I was disappointed in the characters. Perhaps that's a sign of quality writing - that I could be disappointed in a fictional person. However, it left me not feeling like I had insight - rather that I had witnessed a trainwreck of a young woman who will never actually be able to right her own ship.
amystromboli on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
My copy was a prepublished copy so I think it was more than likely a tighter read after it was fully released. I enjoyed the story as it was real & interesting. A Korean Princeton graduate deals with life after college. Materialism, doubt, insecurity, trust, growth, & strength are prevelant themes.
galacticfuzz on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Free Food for Millionaires is a pleasure to read. Min Jin Lee is a gifted storyteller. The words flow beautifully, and they contain a solid plot and many insights into American culture along the way. Her vision of post-ivy life is insightful and resonated with my own experience. Her challenge to what it means to be successful is also timely. I recommend it to anyone who is worried about chasing the "American Dream."
sgk on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Surprised at how much I enjoyed this book. Great insights into Korean American culture, as well as how difficult it is to live a happy life in NYC without any money. Lee is a wonderful storyteller, honest and believable.
sussabmax on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I really liked this book. It touched on a lot of themes that I find interesting, including immigrants, class, money, and finding out what you really want out of life. Also, whether the fact that you are good at something means you should do it, and how independent do you need to be from others to maintain your sense of self. I would definitely recommend this book.
Juliann Cerrito More than 1 year ago
Often times we question culture; we are a melting pot. Why? Why?Why? Chinese restaurant staff have their children in the kitchen with them. Hispanic culture values food and family above all else. This book answers many questions about the Korean culture. We meet Casey Han, Korean daughter of immigrants in the dry cleaning business. We follow her from post graduation days of Princeton to her early 30s. With the seasons and years that pass, we begin to understand the culture. The allegiance to parents, the hiding of white boyfriends, the importance of certain recipes and above all, the educational demands and expectations. It was a vivid page turner and a complete delight. Some sadness, yes, definitely. I now have clarity.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Highly recommend it.