I didn’t expect to enjoy this book as much as I did. The book peers into the psyche and dynamics of a Korean immigrant family and growing up first-generation American with pedantic values and the psychology of poverty and lack, with the horrors of war not far behind their parents who immigrated to America.
As a second-generation Singaporean, my grandparents from China/Java made it to Singapore to build a life here, my grandmothers survived the Japanese Occupation in 1945 and the effects of the second world war – the suffering and baggage continue through generations. They say suffering is handed down 7 generations before it can be eradicated – if at all.
Growing up in predominantly Chinese society and the first world comforts, I know little about how it feels about not fitting in as a migrant and the racism towards minorities and the extra desire to succeed against all odds, however, those Asian values in the book still rings true to my childhood experiences.
The anxiety, the fear of being not enough, the mentality of lack, poverty and hardship and the constant struggle against guilt and filial piety. Free Food for Millionaires’ protagonist brings out all the feels in me. I am angry, sad, disappointed and anxious all at once, following her through her journey of young adulthood and navigating the world.