This wonderful novel grabbed me with its immediate sense of heart and humor. Returning home for a year to help with her father's Alzheimer's, 30-year-old Ruth introduces us to her family with a quirky tenderness as she navigates new uncertainty in her life. Full of poignant details and hilarious moments, the relationship between Ruth and her father is layered with complexity and emotion. The story remains moving and sweet, and manages to never turn maudlin.
“It seems impossible that Khong could tuck so much kindness, honesty, and eclectic humor into one little book! Questioning her life choices in the midst of a major breakup, Ruth, our narrator, returns home to care for her father, an Alzheimer's patient, and gives daily dispatches full of love, rich observations, and clever, unique jokes. Stuffed with rich descriptions of food and cooking and anchored by imperfect-but-tireless familial love, this book goes down as smoothly as a cool glass of water and is as nourishing and thoughtful as it is fun at every turn.”
— Annie Harvieux (W), Magers & Quinn Booksellers, Minneapolis, MN
"Told in a diary format over the year that Ruth spends at home, Goodbye, Vitamin is a quietly brilliant disquisition on family relationships and adulthood, told in prose that is so startling in its spare beauty that I found myself thinking about Khong's turns of phrase for days after I finished reading." -The New York Times Book Review
"Heartwarming. . .Endearingly quirky. . .Goodbye, Vitamin is filled with whimsical observations, oddball facts. . . and] some passages evoke the wonderful offbeat sensibility of Ali Smith. . . .Sweet? Yes. Sugarcoated? Perhaps. Saccharine or cloying? Not to me. Hello, Rachel Khong. Kudos for this delectable take on familial devotion and dementia." -NPR
Her life at a crossroads, a young woman goes home again in this funny and inescapably moving debut from a wonderfully original new literary voice.
Freshly disengaged from her fiance and feeling that life has not turned out quite the way she planned, thirty-year-old Ruth quits her job, leaves town and arrives at her parents' home to find that situation more complicated than she'd realized. Her father, a prominent history professor, is losing his memory and is only erratically lucid. Ruth's mother, meanwhile, is lucidly erratic. But as Ruth's father's condition intensifies, the comedy in her situation takes hold, gently transforming her all her grief.
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.