Goodbye, Vitamin

Goodbye, Vitamin

A Novel

Book Club Kit - 2017
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Named a Best Book of the Year by NPR, O, The Oprah Magazine , Vogue , San Francisco Chronicl e, Esquire , Huffington Post , Nylon , Entertainment Weekly , Buzzfeed , Booklist , and The Independent

Winner of the California Book Award for First Fiction
Los Angeles Times Book Prize Finalist for First Fiction

"A quietly brilliant disquisition . . . 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."-- Doree Shafrir, The New York Times Book Review

"One of those rare books that is both devastating and light-hearted , heartful and joyful . . . . Don't miss it ."-- Buzzfeed

"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 fiancé 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.

Publisher: New York : Henry Holt and Company, 2017.
Edition: First edition.
ISBN: 9781250109163
Branch Call Number: BOOK CLUB GOODBYE
Characteristics: 12 books (196 pages), 1 discussion guide, 1 bag.


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From Library Staff

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 bre... Read More »

From the critics

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Jan 31, 2021

I loooved this book. Khong is just the right amount of poignant without being sappy and captures the kind of millennial humor that laughs in spite of tragedy. She writes magic into everyday life.

Apr 11, 2020

I enjoyed this book. It's like a contemporary Bridget Jones as conceived by Nancy Meyers. There are some funny moments, some touching moments, and an engaging narrative that binds the story together.

There are a few loose ends in the story itself, and while the humour is cute, it's not laugh-out-loud hilarious. Still, a good book and a very promising start for first-time novelist Rachel Khong

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.

Jul 15, 2018

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

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.

Feb 18, 2018

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

Jan 13, 2018

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

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.

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