In this debut novel, Lee does provide insights into the life of Korean-Americans, but for me a much bigger theme was that of dealing with life post college. The main character, Casey Han, has no clear direction in life, and struggles to find her own way. Used to the lavish lifestyles of her friends in college, Casey digs herself further and further into debt. She believes money to be the solution to everything, but turns down the offer for free business school. Slaving away as an intern at an investment company, she is offered a position, but is no longer sure that is what she wants. Throughout the novel, Casey works towards things that she believes will will solve her problems and make her happy, only to find out that she never really wanted them to begin with.
Casey is the perfect example of the recently popularized "quarter-life crisis". She's impressionable, lost in the "real world" and unsure of where she wants to go in her life and her relationships. I really think that this novel will strike a chord with recent college graduated who will recognize a little bit of themselves in Casey Han.
Great writing style and interesting characters. Unfortunately, I thought it dragged quite a bit and ended up feeling nothing more than relief when I finally finished it.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book from start to finish. The storyline was interesting and well-written, and I never lost interest (although it is a very long book). This author has a very concise style of writing that just pulls you in and makes it hard to put the book down.
I highly recommend it!
To quote a review from Pubishers Weekly - "A noteworthy debut - Lee's take on contemporary intergenerational cultural friction is wide-ranging, sympathetic and well worth reading." This book has a very interesting array of characters and situations that they find themselves in, delves into many real life contemporary issues, and has excellent descriptive qualities. It took me a chapter or two to get into it, but once I became interested in the characters, I really enjoyed their story lines. I would agree with other reviewers that there are a couple of loose ends I would have liked to seen tied up alittle neater before the book ends, but perhaps that was the author's intent? If you are looking for a nice, long read that flows nicely and holds your interest, I would highly recommend this book.
After reading this book, I could not disagree with this review found on Amazon.com. This book left me hanging.:
There are several loose ends left dangling, some bad behavior toward others on Casey's part and an unlikely and too coincidental passing acquaintance with an old bookseller whose wife was crazy about hats, as is Casey. When he dies, he leaves all her hats to Casey--which just might just be the start of something. The author runs out of steam after 512 pages and ends the book without really finishing it, but it is a thoughtful treatment of many of the questions Lee raises, and an emninently worthwhile debut. --Valerie Ryan