Goodbye, Vitamin
A young woman returns home to care for her failing father in this fine, funny, and inescapably touching debut, from an affecting and wonderfully original new literary voice.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 one's footing in this life.

Goodbye, Vitamin Details

TitleGoodbye, Vitamin
Author
FormatHardcover
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseJul 11th, 2017
PublisherScribner UK
ISBN1471159485
ISBN-139781471159480
Number of pages208 pages
Rating
GenreFiction, Contemporary, Novels, Family, Adult, Adult Fiction

Goodbye, Vitamin Review

  • Cheri
    April 14, 2017
    4.5 Stars rounded upThere are moments of beauty, moments of laughter, many moments of sadness faced with the knowledge of what is to come, and recognition of what is now the past. When Ruth comes home to help take care of her father who is in the early stages of Alzheimer’s, it is partly an escape from the mess her own life has become, and a return to the comfort of home. A bittersweet return to her childhood home.”What imperfect carriers of love we are, and what imperfect givers.”We age togethe 4.5 Stars rounded upThere are moments of beauty, moments of laughter, many moments of sadness faced with the knowledge of what is to come, and recognition of what is now the past. When Ruth comes home to help take care of her father who is in the early stages of Alzheimer’s, it is partly an escape from the mess her own life has become, and a return to the comfort of home. A bittersweet return to her childhood home.”What imperfect carriers of love we are, and what imperfect givers.”We age together, our parents and ourselves; the process is so gradual that we rarely think about this. We realize, of course, that we are growing older, we may marry, or have children to remind us how quickly the days pass, but we don’t see our parents the same way. We look at old pictures of them and may vaguely recall that they used to look that way, but we don’t really see that. We see them as we’ve always seen them. Our caretakers. The people who raised us, and when the tables are turned, it’s a hard thing to recognize in someone you’ve known your whole life. That Christmas, her father had given her a small, worn, red notebook, a notebook he’s kept notes in since she was very young. ”He showed me a page from this notebook: Today you asked me where metal comes from. You asked me what flavor are germs. You were distressed because your pair of gloves had gone missing. When I asked you for a description, you said: they are sort of shaped like my hands.”These moments, these excerpts from this notebook are scattered throughout ”Goodbye, Vitamin” but there is much that sweetens the bitter truth of her father being robbed of his memories at the same time as she realizes how closely their memories are intertwined. She reads everything she can on Alzheimer’s, what foods to eat and not to eat, what testing is being done on the subject, and in doing so she learns that scientists are now embedding false memories in mice. ”Why don’t they figure out how to keep mice from forgetting things? We don’t need more memories. It’s hard enough trying to get a handle on the ones we’ve got.”. The notes her father wrote are ones that will pull at your heartstrings, remind you, perhaps of your parents, or how you view the little things your own children say and do, or did, or maybe memories of stories you heard your parents tell you about yourself… lovely memories, cherished ones. This is a deliciously sweet story, with hints of sadness within, but it is never overwhelming, a reflection on love conquering even those moments of sadness and reminding us of how sweet memories can be. Recommended.Pub Date: 11 Jul 2017Many thanks for the ARC provided by Henry Holt & Co.
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  • Jill Croce-McGill
    June 24, 2017
    Goodbye, Vitamin by Rachel Khong is a touching gem of a novel about family, friendship, and Alzheimer’s disease with an added touch of laughter, sadness, and love. Ruth Young's life is falling apart, her fiancé just left her for another woman, and her career is going absolutely nowhere. Heartbroken and lost in life, Ruth decides to return home and spend Christmas with her parents. Once home, Ruth's mother begs her to stay for one year to help out with her father who has Alzheimer's, despite her Goodbye, Vitamin by Rachel Khong is a touching gem of a novel about family, friendship, and Alzheimer’s disease with an added touch of laughter, sadness, and love. Ruth Young's life is falling apart, her fiancé just left her for another woman, and her career is going absolutely nowhere. Heartbroken and lost in life, Ruth decides to return home and spend Christmas with her parents. Once home, Ruth's mother begs her to stay for one year to help out with her father who has Alzheimer's, despite her father's insistence that he is absolutely fine. As her father's memory deteriorates Ruth and her mother search for added health benefits - jellyfish recipes and supplements, vitamins, and cruciferous vegetables, all of which her father dislikes. Ruth is determined to read everything she can on Alzheimer's, including all the testing that is being done by scientists to this day.Goodbye, Vitamin is told in a compelling diary form that chronicles the course of a year. Ruth's story is raw, intimate, funny, and tells a story about love, patience, and forgiveness. It's hard to believe that this is Rachel Khong's debut fictional novel. She hit it out of the park with her brilliant storytelling in this heartfelt and entertaining novel.*I want to thank NetGalley and Henry Holt & Company for the ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Lolly K Dandeneau
    March 8, 2017
    via my blog https://bookstalkerblog.wordpress.comWhat imperfect carriers of love we are, and what imperfect givers.” When Ruth comes home to help care for her father, afflicted with Alzheimer’s a beautiful family story unfolds. By no means are they are perfect family, but my heart capsized when reading the notes her father wrote about her questioning mind when she was a child.“You scraped seeds off of bagels and planted them in the flower bed out front. I didn’t have the heart to tell you that via my blog https://bookstalkerblog.wordpress.comWhat imperfect carriers of love we are, and what imperfect givers.” When Ruth comes home to help care for her father, afflicted with Alzheimer’s a beautiful family story unfolds. By no means are they are perfect family, but my heart capsized when reading the notes her father wrote about her questioning mind when she was a child.“You scraped seeds off of bagels and planted them in the flower bed out front. I didn’t have the heart to tell you that there’s no such thing as a bagel tree. Today I thought: I’m nuts- I’m just nuts- about you.” I was nuts about her, such a curious, spirited little girl! All children should know such love and attention. Ruth has always adored her father, but she has been blind to his failings in ways her brother and mother haven’t. For them, the later years weren’t full of a happy husband and father. Maybe her memories are distorted by her enduring adoration of her dad. There has been drinking and cruelties she escaped, and in coming home, with her father’s memories slipping, in his confused state she realizes he wasn’t the most loyal husband nor sober father.College students rally together to make sure he is able to feel important again, teaching is vital to his happiness- and this is one of the sweetest fictions an author has conjured. The novel manages to expose the rawness of family love. It’s a slow understanding that is revealed about Ruth’s mother and father’s complicated marriage as she spends time with him and his slipping memories. Who is the young woman that seems more intimate than she should when in his presence? Why is her mother so angry and yet, she cares for him so tenderly that she expels anything that risks his health. Not that her father much appreciates his wife’s nurturing. She wants to understand why her brother Theo is so mad at their father, but maybe she needs to face her own shame in not coming home sooner.It’s a hard novel to review for me because it’s not a flashy story. Nothing big happens but it is something enormous isn’t it? The betrayal of one’s own mind slowly leaving you, what is more horrible? Unlike many fictional stories, with this one- there are ups and downs. It’s a decline but a slow one, and often that is how illness has it’s grasp on a family- particularly with Alzheimer’s disease. Memories can be mean and bite, but they can be beautiful and moving. There is not one perfect character, but that’s what makes it honest. Something about this family tugged at my heart, and I fell for them. I was fattened up by a father’s love for his little girl, and the bittersweet pain of seeing your parents as human beings rather than gods. Lovely. Add this title to your summer list.Publication Date: July 11, 2017Henry Holt & Company
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  • Marchpane
    April 13, 2017
    This book struck all the right notes for me: sweet without being saccharine, funny but not trying too hard, characters that are charmingly offbeat without being capital Q "Quirky". There's a sort of wispy melancholy that never becomes too maudlin. Particularly lovely are the little observances that the dad makes about his little girl: Today, when I told you to behave, you roared angrily: I'M BEING HAVE.Today I had to stop by the post office, and you looked around and said, aghast, "This is erran This book struck all the right notes for me: sweet without being saccharine, funny but not trying too hard, characters that are charmingly offbeat without being capital Q "Quirky". There's a sort of wispy melancholy that never becomes too maudlin. Particularly lovely are the little observances that the dad makes about his little girl: Today, when I told you to behave, you roared angrily: I'M BEING HAVE.Today I had to stop by the post office, and you looked around and said, aghast, "This is errands?"Today you were so readily impressed by me.There are many of these throughout the book, which are later mirrored by the adult daughter's similar observations about her elderly father.Entirely real and relatable, my only criticism is that the latter part of the book felt too rushed. I can see the stylistic choice behind it (the pace picks up as dad's mental state deteriorates) but it felt a little underdeveloped as a result. That's a minor quibble though, as this really was a charming read.
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  • Rebecca Foster
    June 27, 2017
    Reeling from a broken engagement, Ruth Young returns to her childhood home in California for a year to help look after her father, who has Alzheimer’s. She tries feeding Howard every half-cracked dementia health cure (cruciferous vegetables are a biggie) and, with his teaching assistant, Theo, maintains the illusion that her father is still fit to teach by gathering graduate students for a non-credit History of California class that meets in empty classrooms and occasionally off-campus – whereve Reeling from a broken engagement, Ruth Young returns to her childhood home in California for a year to help look after her father, who has Alzheimer’s. She tries feeding Howard every half-cracked dementia health cure (cruciferous vegetables are a biggie) and, with his teaching assistant, Theo, maintains the illusion that her father is still fit to teach by gathering graduate students for a non-credit History of California class that meets in empty classrooms and occasionally off-campus – wherever they can be away from the watchful eye of Dean Levin. As these strategies fail and Howard’s behavior becomes ever more erratic, Ruth realizes the best thing she can do is be a recorder of daily memories, just as Howard was for her when she was a little girl: “Here I am, in lieu of you, collecting the moments” – “Today you…” This is a delightfully quirky little book, in the same vein as Lisa Owens’ Not Working and Elizabeth McKenzie’s The Portable Veblen. I marked a bunch of funny metaphors:This morning’s [hangover] is a rodent: pesky but manageable.It was grotesque, the way I kept trying to save that relationship. Like trying to tuck an elephant into pants.The moon, tonight, looks like a cut zucchini coin.But you may well read this with a lump in your throat, too. From one Christmas to the next, we see how much changes for this one family; it’s a reminder that even though the good times are still worth celebrating, they’re gone before you know it.
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  • Melissa Crytzer Fry
    June 28, 2017
    **3.5, rounded up**Thank you to Goodreads First Reads program for this book, which I won as a giveaway and might not have read otherwise (and thanks, Cheri, for the recommendation of this book that hits shelves on July 11).I will be honest: I don’t know how to feel about this novel. Prior to picking up this book, I had just finished reading a heavily literary, epic novel that was almost 600 pages, and perhaps the contrast felt a bit like culture shock. This book is only 194 pages (and I think yo **3.5, rounded up**Thank you to Goodreads First Reads program for this book, which I won as a giveaway and might not have read otherwise (and thanks, Cheri, for the recommendation of this book that hits shelves on July 11).I will be honest: I don’t know how to feel about this novel. Prior to picking up this book, I had just finished reading a heavily literary, epic novel that was almost 600 pages, and perhaps the contrast felt a bit like culture shock. This book is only 194 pages (and I think you could shave off another 50 due to the journal-entry formatting and short, short paragraphs). And while this novel, about a young woman’s return home to spend time with her father who has Alzheimer’s, is physically small and quite sparse on words, it does pack an emotional punch. It does so, however, amid a great deal of humor. (Hence my own confused state of mind). Alzheimer’s. Sad. Hilarious, seemingly unrelated observation. Funny. Repeat.I have to think that the author, Rachel Khong, possesses this dry sense of humor, as well – and, as a result, I think it would be a blast to hang out with her. I truly did laugh aloud too many times to count (often worried I’d wake my sleeping husband). So there is a bit of magic in this author’s ability to tell a deeply affecting story with interspersed humor. And perhaps that IS the point: that to deal with painful situations, humans do what they can to cope—often resorting to humor to make sense of the senseless. Ruth has her own life issues to deal with, and to cope, her outlook on the world is infused with bits of humor.But then…This book also is painfully close to home. My father was recently diagnosed with vascular dementia, and I am planning a trip home to be with him – not altogether different than Ruth’s trek home – as the mental decline is happening rapidly (to be honest, he’s been fighting this for more than a decade). I naturally feel dread and overwhelming sadness, coupled with the sense of this trip having some kind of ‘finality’ to it. So it is no surprise that one night, after reading VITAMIN at bedtime, I awoke in the middle of the night feeling sheer panic, the reality setting in that Ruth’s life and her experiences are soon to be mine. The inevitability of the situation really sunk in.But let me emphasize that the writing is not sensational and overly dramatic. It is sparse and doesn’t dwell. And it provides a certain amount of levity with abundant humorous events. My reaction is simply to my situation. And, in the end, I’m glad to have read this book. You can easily read it in a single sitting – possibly even in a few hours. It is engaging, with its easy-to-read, stream-of-consciousness observations, and the beauty, again, is in the author’s ability to get the reader to feel, using so few words. It’s unlike anything I’ve read before. I do recommend it.
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  • Cindy Burnett
    May 28, 2017
    Goodbye, Vitamin tells a heartbreaking story of the impact of Alzheimer’s on both the individual afflicted and those who love that individual. Khong accurately depicts the effects of Alzheimer’s on the brain and how scary those effects are to everyone involved. She also includes some interesting information on how the disease was named which I enjoyed learning.I think my anticipation of how good this book would be may have ended up coloring how I felt about it in the end. From the first time I r Goodbye, Vitamin tells a heartbreaking story of the impact of Alzheimer’s on both the individual afflicted and those who love that individual. Khong accurately depicts the effects of Alzheimer’s on the brain and how scary those effects are to everyone involved. She also includes some interesting information on how the disease was named which I enjoyed learning.I think my anticipation of how good this book would be may have ended up coloring how I felt about it in the end. From the first time I read about Goodbye, Vitamin I was dying to read it. When I finally got a copy and sat down to read it, I think the book could not meet my high expectations, and several of my recent reads made Goodbye, Vitamin not quite as appealing as it might have been otherwise. I am only including these thoughts because I might have liked the book better in other circumstances.A recent trend in literature seems to be a scattered, random method of telling a story. Goodbye, Vitamin is written this way as well as Chemistry by Weike Wang. I felt Wang managed this method better, and as a result, I enjoyed that story a bit better. I found Goodbye, Vitamin to be a bit hard to follow and was not always sure what point she was trying to make, but overall I was glad that I read it.Thanks to LibraryThing and Henry Holt and Company for the chance to read this ARC in exchange for my honest review.
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  • Kathleen
    May 8, 2017
    I received an advance copy of this novel from the publisher via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review. The honest truth is, I was not ready to read this. I was drawn to the story of a woman whose father is in early stages of Alzheimer's due to a similar personal situation. I read this less than three weeks after losing my father to a neurological condition that made him unable to speak and eventually progressed into dementia. I mention this because I expect that there's a link between my r I received an advance copy of this novel from the publisher via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review. The honest truth is, I was not ready to read this. I was drawn to the story of a woman whose father is in early stages of Alzheimer's due to a similar personal situation. I read this less than three weeks after losing my father to a neurological condition that made him unable to speak and eventually progressed into dementia. I mention this because I expect that there's a link between my recent experience & raw emotion, and my somewhat negative reaction toward the novel. I considered not writing a review at all, but decided it may be helpful to someone. There may be others in a situation similar to mine, so instead will just say, please take this review for what it's worth. I'm sure many people are drawn to books about parents with Alzheimer's and dementia because we hope to draw something out of it to help us understand our own struggle watching our loved ones' slowly slip away. For me, this was somewhat difficult to get through. Ruth, the main character, agrees to quit her job and move in with her parents so that she can be her father's catetaker while her mother is working. It's written in an epistolary style, like journal entries, as we understand what is happening in her life over the course of a year. I think the coldness of that style made it hard for me to get into. I was also distracted by the practical improbability of how this 30 year old woman was able to drop everything and become a full time caregiver for her father. I will forever wish I could have done that for my father but where does the money come from? In reality, this is a very emotionally and financially draining disease and dramatically, the story works well, but practically it was hard to put myself in this character's place, after the path I have already walked.
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  • Book of the Month
    July 1, 2017
    You Are What You EatBy Judge Isaac FitzgeraldI’ve always been a fan of a certain kind of summer read—the book you take to the beach, expecting only fun and laughter, when it blindsides you with emotion and devastating insights until you’re both laughing and crying, tears and sand on your cheeks combining into an abrasive paste that would feel painful if you weren’t completely immersed in an incredible book. (Just me?) The kind of book that matches lightness with a certain level of darkness, feel You Are What You EatBy Judge Isaac FitzgeraldI’ve always been a fan of a certain kind of summer read—the book you take to the beach, expecting only fun and laughter, when it blindsides you with emotion and devastating insights until you’re both laughing and crying, tears and sand on your cheeks combining into an abrasive paste that would feel painful if you weren’t completely immersed in an incredible book. (Just me?) The kind of book that matches lightness with a certain level of darkness, feeling all the more true and alive because it contains everything alongside everything else, the way our lives do.This summer, that book is Goodbye, Vitamin, the debut novel from former Lucky Peach editor Rachel Khong. Told in diary format, the novel follows a young woman named Ruth, whose life is in somewhat of a shambles after a broken engagement. She moves back home to help her mother care for her father, a history professor who has just been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.Heavy stuff—and Goodbye, Vitamin never shies away from it. But I also want to talk about how this book is a pure and utter delight to read. Ruth is a narrator you’d follow anywhere, her perspective hilarious, playful, and keenly observant. Though she’s often perplexed and unsure of what to do, she’s also always trying to make the best of things. One of the ways in which she tries to help is through food, as she cooks for her tired family and continually tries to entice her father to eat. (As to be expected from Khong, her writing about food is always fascinating, startling, and delectable, and is one of the many great joys of Goodbye, Vitamin.)Along with Ruth, every one of the characters feels alive. Her mother, her father, her brother, her friends, her father’s former grad students—they are wonderful, strange, and infuriating (sometimes all at once) in the way of people you love or could love. And that’s how Goodbye, Vitamin gets you: As it dazzles and delights, as it compels you to fall in love with the people within its pages, it too shows you what is impossibly hard about love, about life. The book explores questions like: What do we owe each other? How do we forgive people when they change, especially when we haven’t fully forgiven them for who they were before? How are we supposed to let go at the same time we’re desperately trying to hold on to what we can?Full of food, family, friendship, and love, Goodbye, Vitamin contains everything a reader might need to make them happy, while also showing how these things can be taken away, whether by accident or time. It is heartbreaking. It is a joy. Which means, of course, Goodbye, Vitamin is a perfect summer book.Read more at https://www.bookofthemonth.com/goodby...
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  • Rachel León
    June 14, 2017
    (4.5 stars, rounded up)This debut novel is short, but wonderful. Ruth, a young woman who returns home to help care for her Alzheimer's-ridden father after she and her fiancé separate. Khong is a fantastic writer and her prose reminded me a bit of Margaret Atwood's early work. It's sparse and compelling, but also (to steal from Miranda July's blurb) sneaks up on you. And the ending is absolutely beautiful.
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  • Brenda Ayala
    June 9, 2017
    I think I read this wrong.I get what the author was doing, but it didn't hold the same significance for me. It's implied that our narrator is writing a journal, but since it is so all over the place and unorganized I couldn't help but think that it seemed like a cop out for the author to have no plot while writing.Plus I liked Ruth way more as a child than as an adult. I didn't find her (or her family) funny and the delivery left a lot to be desired. Since everyone else is giving this like 4.5 s I think I read this wrong.I get what the author was doing, but it didn't hold the same significance for me. It's implied that our narrator is writing a journal, but since it is so all over the place and unorganized I couldn't help but think that it seemed like a cop out for the author to have no plot while writing.Plus I liked Ruth way more as a child than as an adult. I didn't find her (or her family) funny and the delivery left a lot to be desired. Since everyone else is giving this like 4.5 stars then I will just say that I probably read it wrong and nobody should listen to me.
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  • Jaclyn Crupi
    April 3, 2017
    This was lovely. A diarised account of a year spent caring for ageing parents. A year spent with Alzheimer's. A sad story told with such happiness. Khong draws beautiful parallels between parents raising children and children caring for parents. Subtle and gentle and lovely.
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  • Sarah Doherty
    April 20, 2017
    I simply adored this book!In Goodbye, Vitamin we meet a heartbroken 30 year-old Ruth who has moved back home to help her parents in the wake of her father’s Alzheimer’s diagnosis. Ruth’s father, Howard, who worked as a Professor, is no longer able to teach due to his rapid decline in memory so some of his students band together to try to help him. In the meantime, Howard has given Ruth a book of notes to her he has kept since she was young. Through the notes we get a peek at their memories and t I simply adored this book!In Goodbye, Vitamin we meet a heartbroken 30 year-old Ruth who has moved back home to help her parents in the wake of her father’s Alzheimer’s diagnosis. Ruth’s father, Howard, who worked as a Professor, is no longer able to teach due to his rapid decline in memory so some of his students band together to try to help him. In the meantime, Howard has given Ruth a book of notes to her he has kept since she was young. Through the notes we get a peek at their memories and their relationship, while simultaneously getting wrapped up in his present decline and the struggles they share as a family.This is a very poignant but lovely story of a family trying to cope with Alzheimer’s disease. Khong gives us a glimpse at the hard, funny, sad, and beautiful moments – and everything in between. The novel was structured as a series of journal entries, which made it relatable and easy to get wrapped up in. Towards the end of the novel Khong did an excellent job accelerating the pace to mimic the quickening pace of real life as you get older, especially when faced with a diagnosis like Howard’s. It’s a grave reminder not to take your life for granted and to cherish the time you have with the people you love, doing the things you love.I am eagerly awaiting whatever is next from Rachel Khong.
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  • Ang
    February 3, 2017
    Khong tackles Alzheimer's in the sweetest, lightest way here. That's not to say there's not depth; there is, and I really appreciated her subtle integration of the love story into the Alzheimer's story. But this book really is sweet and funny, if you can believe it. And I just have to say a word about the structure, which was, I thought, masterful. The way the book speeds up at the end...it mirrors the real-life experience of life, I think. I wasn't sold on the journal aspect of the structure at Khong tackles Alzheimer's in the sweetest, lightest way here. That's not to say there's not depth; there is, and I really appreciated her subtle integration of the love story into the Alzheimer's story. But this book really is sweet and funny, if you can believe it. And I just have to say a word about the structure, which was, I thought, masterful. The way the book speeds up at the end...it mirrors the real-life experience of life, I think. I wasn't sold on the journal aspect of the structure at first, but it really paid off at the end, so kudos to Rachel Khong, man.Can't wait to put this one in people's hands in July.Thanks to the publisher and to NetGalley for the digital ARC.
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  • Karen
    May 6, 2017
    Goodbye, Vitamin by Rachel KhongRuth comes home to spend a year helping to take care of her father. He is suffering from Alzheimer's disease. It is touching and loving the excerpts Ruth's father wrote to her about what she said and did as a young child. This book was sad but funny and it was lovingly written. As the months and days go by you get a sense that Ruth is not taking time for granted. She is storing up her own memory bank of her father as she spends time with him. I liked that they tri Goodbye, Vitamin by Rachel KhongRuth comes home to spend a year helping to take care of her father. He is suffering from Alzheimer's disease. It is touching and loving the excerpts Ruth's father wrote to her about what she said and did as a young child. This book was sad but funny and it was lovingly written. As the months and days go by you get a sense that Ruth is not taking time for granted. She is storing up her own memory bank of her father as she spends time with him. I liked that they tried to give him a class to teach. I don't know why the Head of Professors threatened police action for Ruth's dad if he visited the school he loved and taught at. It was nice that the whole family came together and it reminds me not to take time and those I love for granted.Thank you to Net Galley, Rachel Khong and the Publisher for providing me with my digital copy for a fair and honest review.
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  • Karen
    June 30, 2017
    Great first line: “Tonight a man found Dad’s pants in a tree lit with Christmas lights.” 30-year old Ruth been called home to care for her father who is exhibiting signs of dementia. She has also just broken up with her fiancé. Ruth throws herself into her new role as caregiver where some humor can be found, but unfortunately I realized that her story was not my cup of tea. The style of writing, the streams of conscienceness and uneven flow made for a choppy story that I just couldn’t sink my te Great first line: “Tonight a man found Dad’s pants in a tree lit with Christmas lights.” 30-year old Ruth been called home to care for her father who is exhibiting signs of dementia. She has also just broken up with her fiancé. Ruth throws herself into her new role as caregiver where some humor can be found, but unfortunately I realized that her story was not my cup of tea. The style of writing, the streams of conscienceness and uneven flow made for a choppy story that I just couldn’t sink my teeth into. Thanks to Henry Holt & Co for providing me an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Kaylen Ralph
    June 5, 2017
    ❤❤❤❤❤ ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️
  • Douglas Lord
    March 19, 2017
    One of the many curses of being a dude is a voracious appetite for almost any “good” book. It doesn’t have to have fights, car crashes, and boobs—though those things are certainly welcome, bro. GV is pretty far from “dude” reading, but super quiet and ponderous as it is, it’s great. Khong crafts a narrative from bare bones of a plot in which Ruth, 30, keenly observes the gradual disintegration of her father, Howard, a history professor retired to a faceless Los Angeles burb, from Alzheimer’s. Th One of the many curses of being a dude is a voracious appetite for almost any “good” book. It doesn’t have to have fights, car crashes, and boobs—though those things are certainly welcome, bro. GV is pretty far from “dude” reading, but super quiet and ponderous as it is, it’s great. Khong crafts a narrative from bare bones of a plot in which Ruth, 30, keenly observes the gradual disintegration of her father, Howard, a history professor retired to a faceless Los Angeles burb, from Alzheimer’s. There’s not a lot for Ruth to do, really. “What do I do all day? I don’t even know. I dig hair out of the bathroom drain with a chopstick.” She reads messages in online forums about Alzheimer’s support—and also about finding your life’s passion. Artsy, with little snippets like “…it comes as a relief to me that my best friend is in a not-dissimilar boat – the unmarried and careerless boat. Which is more like a canoe,” Khong makes moments out of vignettes, often hilarious. Still, the sadness is palpable, as when Ruth’s snooping unearths distressing details about her parent’s marriage. When graduate assistant Theo devises a scheme to cheer and stimulate Howard by faking a seminar—plenty of students, no credit—the action picks up. Theo is a peaceful type who buys doughnut holes with doughnuts because, he explains, they “have their holes punched out of them. Not buying them feels like being part of the problem.” Romance? Well, maybe as Ruth is also processing and healing from a breakup. VERDICT Q: Can sadness be sweet? A: Yes, in the hands of Khong, who turns a swirl of lemons into lemondrops.Find reviews of books for men at Books for Dudes, Books for Dudes, the online reader's advisory column for men from Library Journal. Copyright Library Journal.
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  • Andy Lillich
    June 12, 2017
    I fell gradually more and more in love with this book and its characters the more I read. How do you create a touching and even comic novel out of a situation as depressing as the story of a grown-up child being called home to help care for her father as he is being taken away from himself and his family by Alzheimer's disease? More than that, how do you show your characters grow through their shared year-in-the-life as one generation is still grappling to find its place as grown-up while the ot I fell gradually more and more in love with this book and its characters the more I read. How do you create a touching and even comic novel out of a situation as depressing as the story of a grown-up child being called home to help care for her father as he is being taken away from himself and his family by Alzheimer's disease? More than that, how do you show your characters grow through their shared year-in-the-life as one generation is still grappling to find its place as grown-up while the other is teetering toward finding balance with life's end?You do it with exceptionally fine writing, with acute insight; love, kindness and forgiveness between your characters, and brilliant moments of truth that reveal the connectedness of family and friends.Reading this book was a lot like falling in love; it was as easy - and as hard - as that. Highly recommended.
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  • Lolly K Dandeneau
    February 27, 2017
    review soon I loved this
  • Dea
    February 22, 2017
    Review to come.Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for the e-galley.
  • Meg
    June 25, 2017
    I received a copy of this book through a Goodreads giveaway in exchange for a fair & honest review. I loved Goodbye Vitamin! It was such a quick read, I finished it in a couple days! Also, I shamelessly loveeee books set in the city I live in, so I personally enjoyed the LA setting & its brief history enclosed in the story. Beyond the interesting facts riddled throughout the book (I learned lots of new things about feral goldfish, the origin of "tennis bracelets", "testify" & "crucif I received a copy of this book through a Goodreads giveaway in exchange for a fair & honest review. I loved Goodbye Vitamin! It was such a quick read, I finished it in a couple days! Also, I shamelessly loveeee books set in the city I live in, so I personally enjoyed the LA setting & its brief history enclosed in the story. Beyond the interesting facts riddled throughout the book (I learned lots of new things about feral goldfish, the origin of "tennis bracelets", "testify" & "cruciferous", a goldfish "troubling", etc), the book kept me engaged & emotionally attached throughout the story. I stopped at various lines to repeat their beauty again, laughed at the journal entries of things she said as a child & cried at her father's heartfelt words & his gradual health decline. I loved how the author switched the format from her father writing in a journal about her growing up to her writing in a journal about her father's everyday occurrences- that.was.GENIUS. It was such a seamless transition & beyond touching. A beautiful tale about family, forgiveness, & all the life that happens in between. Read this!!!
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  • Natalie
    May 28, 2017
    This sweet book was filled with endearing characters from start to finish. Told in a journal type format, sometimes I felt like it was a bit choppy and segmented, but I suppose that was the intent. Everyone was so easy to relate to and it was a story that made me appreciate family and consider life as our parents begin to age.
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  • Sharon
    April 11, 2017
    Reads almost more like poetry, but very grounded, both sparse and specific in its exploration of a challenging time in the narrator's life that overlaps a painful transition for her family. I loved it!
  • Kalen
    March 26, 2017
    Sad but also funny. Will be relatable for anyone with a loved one suffering from Alzheimer's or dementia. There is so much love in this story.
  • Carrie
    May 20, 2017
    This one surprised me. It's hilarious and sad and tender all at once, and Khong is a terrific writer. What a lovely, lovely book.
  • Heather Starr
    April 24, 2017
    This was a good, quick read. A story about a man with Alzheimer's and his daughter who moves home to help take care of him. I connected with a lot of it because I just had to move my mom out of her apartment because of a history of falling. Thankfully she does not have Alzheimer's, but the aging process has reversed our positions. Me the parent, her the child.
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  • Justin
    April 9, 2017
    My grandfather had Parkinsons and I spent a summer living with him in Mexico when it started getting worse. Watching him go through his therapy and exercise routines to help mitigate the effects of the disease, was for the most part, mundane and sad. This book accurately captures so much of the watching and waiting that goes on day-to-day. How the Author weaves humor and self-reflection into the year long journey her character embarks on is thoroughly entertaining. At first, the journal/diary st My grandfather had Parkinsons and I spent a summer living with him in Mexico when it started getting worse. Watching him go through his therapy and exercise routines to help mitigate the effects of the disease, was for the most part, mundane and sad. This book accurately captures so much of the watching and waiting that goes on day-to-day. How the Author weaves humor and self-reflection into the year long journey her character embarks on is thoroughly entertaining. At first, the journal/diary structure was difficult to adjust to, but once I picked up on the consistency it created, the story unfolded into a gentle rhythm I appreciated by the end. I was also surprised at how many times I laughed out loud. Khong's ability to observe and tease out entirely original observations gives the story levity and provides an enjoyable quality to the narrators voice. I've been a fan of Khong since her Lucky Peach days and hope to see her talent of story telling and humor appear again soon!
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  • Myra
    May 13, 2017
    3.5 StarsAnother good novel on the struggles with aging parents inflicted with Alzheimer’s. Lots of memories, love, and humor are included to make it a good read.
  • Mark
    March 10, 2017
    When Ruth is visiting her parents for Christmas, her mother asks her to stay for a year to help care for her father, who is starting to suffer the debilitating effects of Alzheimer’s. Meanwhile, Ruth is trying to find her own footing, after her fiancée left her for another woman. "Goodbye, Vitamin" is narrated by Ruth in short diary-like entries that are often very funny, but by the end of the book these vignettes add up to a moving chronicle of familial love, as Ruth finds meaning and connectio When Ruth is visiting her parents for Christmas, her mother asks her to stay for a year to help care for her father, who is starting to suffer the debilitating effects of Alzheimer’s. Meanwhile, Ruth is trying to find her own footing, after her fiancée left her for another woman. "Goodbye, Vitamin" is narrated by Ruth in short diary-like entries that are often very funny, but by the end of the book these vignettes add up to a moving chronicle of familial love, as Ruth finds meaning and connection in some unexpected places. "Goodbye, Vitamin" sneaks up on you and may have you laughing out loud and then bring you to tears on the same page!Rachel Khong was the managing editor then executive editor of Lucky Peach magazine from 2011 to 2016. "Goodbye, Vitamin" is her first novel.
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