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Friday, October 19, 2018

Review: Free Food for Millionaires

After reading Pachinko, I saw that Min Jin Lee had another book called Free Food for Millionaires. I checked out the book and instead of a foreword or preface, the book had a long essay about how she wrote the book under trying circumstances and struggled to complete it. I felt obliged to read the book after that.

Unfortunately, the book is horrid. The main protagonist, Casey Han, a Korean American who graduated from Princeton with a full scholarship, makes one incredibly bad decision after another. She continually spends money she doesn't have, goes into debt, ignores offers of help from friends, takes up relationships she shouldn't have, has affairs she shouldn't have, and does crazy messed up things. If this was one of your friends you would shake her or just stop dealing with her because being that kind of messed up would eventually screw you over too.

I kept reading in the hope that the book has some redemptive value. But it doesn't. The book ends with the protagonist making even worse decisions and I wanted to scream. I want the hours I spent reading the massive 577 page tome back. Go read something else. Or play a video game. Or watch a movie. This book has no redeeming value and is not worth your time.


nettleja said...

I agree with your summary of Casey's behavior -- "continually spends money she doesn't have," etc. but wouldn't say that the book has no redeeming value. As yet another window into the bizarre world of New York greed and entitlement, though, it was gruesomely fascinating. Talk about the 1%! How about the .000001%? To those of us who work for years and slobber with appreciation for a 1 or 2% "merit raise" each year, who buy clothes at thrift stores, who actually cook their own meals, this book is an invitation to compare quiet living with frenetic acquisitveness. That alone redeems it (a little). The theme that struck me as most odd, however, was that of religious devotion. It felt grafted on with no honest relation to the plot.

Piaw Na said...

I have plenty of exposure to millionaires and billionaires. Noe of them are that way. But for better or worse, I don't live in New York nor do I wish to.