Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Length: 624 pages
Audiobook Length: 11 hours and 15 minutes
First Published: 2007
The strong-willed daughter of Korean immigrants, Casey Han is determined to have the glamorous Manhattan lifestyle that she can’t afford, even with her Princeton degree. With ever-increasing debt, Casey seizes on any opportunity to make a space for herself in a world of privilege, yet she constantly feels the strain of living above her means.
First, you should know that Free Food for Millionaires is excessively long. The 600-page count feels more worthy of a WWII epic like Pachinko rather than six years in wealthy Manhattan. The story was interesting, if not exactly gripping, with plenty of discussions on race, class, and sex. The characters were severely flawed, but not endearingly so, making them hard to love and often making the novel hard to read.
Meet Casey Han: a strong-willed, Queens-bred daughter of Korean immigrants immersed in a glamorous Manhattan lifestyle she can’t afford. Casey is eager to make it on her own, away from the judgements of her parents’ tight-knit community, but she soon finds that her Princeton economics degree isn’t enough to rid her of ever-growing credit card debt and a toxic boyfriend. When a chance encounter with an old friend lands her a new opportunity, she’s determined to carve a space for herself in a glittering world of privilege, power, and wealth-but at what cost?
Set in a city where millionaires scramble for the free lunches the poor are too proud to accept, this sharp-eyed epic of love, greed, and ambition is a compelling portrait of intergenerational strife, immigrant struggle, and social and economic mobility. Addictively readable, Min Jin Lee’s bestselling debut Free Food for Millionaires exposes the intricate layers of a community clinging to its old ways in a city packed with haves and have-nots.