Goodbye, Vitamin

Goodbye, Vitamin

A Novel

Book - 2017 | First edition
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"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"-- Provided by publisher.
Publisher: New York : Henry Holt and Company, 2017
Edition: First edition
Copyright Date: ©2017
ISBN: 9781250109163 hardcover
1250109167 hardcover
electronic book
Branch Call Number: FIC KHONG
Characteristics: 196 pages ; 22 cm

Opinion

From Library Staff

May selection. Meeting May 18th at 2 pm.

January 9: Told in captivating glimpses and drawn from a deep well of insight, humor, and unexpected tenderness, Goodbye, Vitamin pilots the reader through the heartbreaking absurdity of losing one's parent to dementia.

January 9, 2020: Told in captivating glimpses and drawn from a deep well of insight, humor, and unexpected tenderness, Goodbye, Vitamin pilots the reader through the heartbreaking absurdity of losing one's parent to dementia.

For when you are shocked to realize your life is not what you expected it to be, and shit keeps getting worse, anyway. Ruth has broken up with her fiancé, quit her job, and returned home to find her father, the brilliant history professor, now only occasionally lucid as he enters the late stages ... Read More »


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k
kawidman
Dec 17, 2019

Somehow this book was exactly the right thing I needed to read in the middle of a hectic schedule darkened by some winter blues. Not only is it a short book, it’s written in journal-style vignettes, chronicling the protagonist’s year of moving into her parents’ house at age 30 to assist in the care of her father. It has a generous and observational sense of humor and takes an exquisite shift about a third of the way through. I do think it could have used about 50 more pages, because there was imbalance to me between the first half the year and the second half. However, through incredible skill on Khong’s part, a truly sparse number of pages feels like you’ve read much more than that, but in a good way. It doesn’t feel tiresome, it feels like you’ve known these characters for as long as they’ve known each other and care about them almost as much as they care about each other.

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.

m
marcrrussell
Jan 13, 2018

i found this to be quite original...will look for more by this author

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.

r
rexhazell
Jan 07, 2018

Vastly overrated novel. There are many, many better authors out there...don't waste time with this book. The main complement I can give it is that it's short.

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.

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