Goodbye, Vitamin

Goodbye, Vitamin

A Novel

Book - 2017
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""Incredibly poignant . . . Rachel Khong's first novel sneaks up on you -- just like life . . . and heartbreak. And love."--Miranda July A few days after Christmas in a small suburb outside of L.A., pairs of a man's pants hang from the trees. The pants belong to Howard Young, a prominent history professor, recently diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease. Howard's wife, Annie, summons their daughter, Ruth. Freshly disengaged from her fiance and still broken up about it, feeling that life has not turned out quite the way she planned, thirty-year- old Ruth quits her job, and arrives home to find her parents' situation worse than she'd realized. Her father is erratically lucid and her mother, a devoted and creative cook, sees the sources of memory loss in every pot and pan. But as Howard's condition intensifies, the comedy in Ruth's situation takes hold, gently transforming her grief. She throws herself into caretaking: cooking dementia-fighting meals (a feast of jellyfish!), researching supplements, anything to reignite her father's once-notable memory. And when the university finally lets Howard go, Ruth and one of her father's handsome former students take their efforts to help Howard one step too far. Told in captivating glimpses and drawn from a deep well of insight, humor, and unexpected tenderness, Goodbye, Vitamin pilots through the loss, love, and absurdity of finding a one's footing in this life"--
Publisher: New York : Henry Holt and Company, 2017.
ISBN: 9781250109163
1250109167
Characteristics: 196 pages ;,22 cm.

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DBRL_Katie Apr 16, 2019

Too often stories about people with Alzheimer’s embrace the assumption that diagnosis means one will slowly progress into a mere empty vessel, that they will lose their personality and identity. Take for example this quick read in which the main character dreams about her father: "You are yourself again. You can remember everything." With Alzheimer’s texts, I try to find ones that go beyond tragedy and mourning, especially when that individual is still very much alive. While this work has its pitfalls, I still found myself laughing aloud and identifying with the narrator, who affords herself less credit than she deserves. This novel takes the form of diary entries from a year the narrator returns home to help care for her father. While this effort takes up much of her attention, much of the novel is also spent ruminating on her own life situation. This causes her to consider, "What imperfect carriers of love we are, and what imperfect givers. That the reasons we can care for one another can have nothing to do with the person cared for. That it has only to do with how we were around that person--what we felt about that person."

VaughanPLMeena Mar 27, 2019

I will admit, I picked up this book because the cover was so colourful! I didn't have any real expectations, other than having something to read. However, I was pleasantly surprised with how thoughtful and honest this book was! Rachel Khong uses apt observations and humour to describe the challenges of taking care of a parent with Alzheimer's.

h
hrogness
Jul 15, 2018

very creative, too creative, thinking. Became a vehicle for thinking outside the box rather than telling a story

c
catherineband
May 29, 2018

This book really stayed with me after I finished it. Khong's prose gives life to every day activities. It's not just a book about Alzheimer's--it's a book about life. It's about how we think of ourselves, our parents, our friends. The book is funny, vibrant, and I think it really stuck with me since the style reflects how I think. It's a quick read, and I'd definitely recommend this book.

b
bluehydrangea
Feb 18, 2018

Funny and sad, and not too long: an excellent combination! This novel has a good heart.

k
KatG1983
Jan 11, 2018

Goodbye Vitamin explores a very particular stage in life - when children become caretakers for their parents. It is written with heart and insight; and doesn't shy away from the difficult realities of a disease such as Alzheimer's. A quick read, coming in under 200 pages, but packs an emotional punch.

LPL_KateG Dec 11, 2017

This book packs quite a bit of feels into fewer than 200pgs. The protagonist, Ruth, leaves her job and apartment to move in with her parents temporarily after her dad was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. She’s there to help her mom cope, to keep an eye on her dad, and to recover from a devastating breakup. All of that sounds like a big bummer -- which it is -- BUT Ruth is also funny and sweet and awkward, and all of these factors combine to create a very charming, touching book.

m
maybaby
Oct 14, 2017

I was worried this was going to be a "One True Thing" knock off. It wasn't. It was an engaging, quick read. There was one error...the author need to fact check coral...ugh, simple two click internet search would have corrected the glaring error in the book regarding the coral.

Cynthia_N Oct 12, 2017

Ruth moves home for a year to help her mother care for her father who has Alzheimer's. A very touching story.

e
elizali
Oct 02, 2017

Khong's style is beautiful and approachable. Heartily recommend. This is a book about crisis in general, with no subdivision on age. Remembrance is such a fickle topic and Khong approaches with grace and ease.

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