Book Review of Free Food for Millionaires

Free Food for Millionaires
reviewed on

I'm surprised by the negative reviews here, but of course everyone has different tastes in books, so I'll have to chalk it up to different strokes for different folks. As a second generation Asian American woman, I could instantly relate to the heroine in this story. The only other book that captured the second generation immigrant experience as well is Jhumpa Lahiri's book, "The Namesake." You're forever caught between the expectations of your hard-working immigrant parents who emigrated to America (or some other Western country) for a better life, and the cultural norms of the non-Asian culture you're brought up in. You're not firmly rooted in the Old Country or the new domicile. That feeling of wanting to belong and not belonging is captured so well by Min Jin Lee in this book.

The heroine is well-educated, funny, quirky and complicated. She's a modern woman with an active sexual life and past, but she's also the good Asian daughter who does very well in her university studies at an Ivy League university. She's a much smarter version of Becky Bloomwood in the Shopaholic series. This book is not chick lit, but the two characters both share a penchant for spending money on things they can't afford.

There's a cast of characters who range from other second generation Korean Americans to a Puerto Rican doorman. The one character whose backstory I really wanted to know wasn't given a first person voice. We only see her from the point of view of the heroine. I would wanted to know how the multi-millionaire, Sabine, got to where she did starting from nothing and only speaking in broken English. There are so many layers to this book that it's something you can read multiple times without getting bored. The plotting could be better and the I didn't like the ending. It was much too ambiguous, which I guess was the point, but I needed more finality. What happens to Ted? What about Unu? Does Casey ever work full-time for Sabine? I docked a point for the ending, but I consider this book one of my favorites