Goodbye, Vitamin – Rachel Khong

51+SgqT67tL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_Publisher: Henry Holt and Co.

Publication Date: July 11th, 2017

Page Count: 208 (Hardcover)

From the Jacket:

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.

When I initially read the jacket for this book, I considered not starting it. Expecting a sad, despairing narrative about a young woman watching her father slowly decline from Alzheimer’s disease, I was very pleasantly surprised to find Goodbye, Vitamin really isn’t about that at all. Ruth does in fact, return home to care for her father, Howard, who is losing his memory. However, the plot focuses on a year they spend together, while Khong expertly weaves in details from the past. It’s about love and the complexities and dysfunction of families. Written in journal entires that flow together almost like a stream of consciousness, it is impossible to put down. Khong’s prose is so stark and tender and I think it’s the simplicity of it that pulled me in.

This story is so quirky and bittersweet. Ruth’s father keeps a journal of all of the things she says to him as a young child, and these tidbits were my favorite part. The limitless imagination of children is perfectly rendered in these entries and they pulled mightily at my heart strings. Each one a reminder of how fleeting the time is when children are young and full of wonder. Despite being exhausting, and often feeling like each day is just surviving to the end of it, it made me pause and remember to cherish these moments with them.

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Final Thoughts: This book is heartwarming and tender and quirky and even funny, despite the dark subject matter. The overall impression is very bittersweet, but I still enjoyed it immensely. It’s a quick read and the writing is truly terrific. I will definitely pick up more by this author in the future.

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Favorite Characters: The Howard who writes the journal entries

Memorable Quotes:

If I were you is something I’ve never really understood. Why say, “If I were you”? Why say, “If I were you,” when the problem is you’re not me? I wish people would say, “Since I am me, ” followed by whatever advice it is they have.

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 who we were around that person — what we felt about that person.

At one point Dad emerges, shirtless, into the kitchen, to brew himself coffee. I get my nipples from him, I realize, alarmed.

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July 2017 Wrap-Up

July was a big month for reading for me, and I finished 11 books in total. I checked off several books that I’ve been meaning to get to for a while, as well as discovered some brand new ones that had not been on my TBR.  Despite this, I still have an ever growing stack on my nightstand that I fear I will never see the bottom of. It really is true that the more you read, the more you realize you haven’t read.

Some of my favorites this month were….

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As Ginny Moon would say, “well dang!” I loved this book SO. MUCH! This one is told from the perspective of Ginny, an autistic 14 year old growing up in the foster care system. She’s brave, stubborn, funny, smart, and fiercely loyal. I’m recommending this one to everyone I see.

 

 

 

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I was expecting this to be another run of the mill YA romance. Not to say that there is anything wrong with those, because if you look at my reading list, I clearly LOVE THEM. But I was pleasantly surprised to find some very creative ideas presented that really set it apart. I listened on audio, and the two narrators they cast do a lovely job. This is sweet and the ending had me wiping my eyes and blaming allergies.

 

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My Lady Jane was so much fun to read. It’s a very funny and creative retelling of history that frequently breaks the fourth wall. I laughed out loud on more than one occasion and found the romance to be very sweet. I’m excited to see what these ladies come up with next.

 

 

 

Honorable mention to Jennifer Niven’s All The Bright Places. This was such an exceptionally beautiful story, made even more touching by listening to the author’s note at the end of the book. I’m really glad I read this one.

Because I enjoyed The Sun is Also a Star so much, I fully expected to love Everything Everything. I was really underwhelmed by that one, which is a bummer because I was really excited to watch the movie. Also, What Light by Jay Asher got really good reviews, and was the only thing I could find available on Overdrive that I wanted to listen to. I went in with high hopes, as it takes place during Christmas on a Christmas tree farm. As an extreme Christmas lover, I figured this would be pretty hard to screw up. Unfortunately, while the story was sweet, I spent most of it bored out of my mind. A lot of the plot was unbelievable and the dialogue was pretty cheesy.

Also, I organized my shelves today and I think they look lovely sorted by color. It will be an absolute nightmare to find anything, but THEY’RE SO PRETTY.

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The whole line up…..

 

 

The Hate U Give – 5 crowns

This Savage Song – 4 crowns

Geekerella – 5 crowns

My Lady Jane – 4 crowns

The Sun is Also a Star – 5 crowns

All the Bright Places – 5 crowns

Ginny Moon – 5 crowns

The Girl Before – 2 crowns

Everything Everything – 3 crowns

Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore – 5 crowns

What Light – 3 crowns

June 2017 Wrap-Up

I’m FINALLY caught up with these monthly wrap-ups! Woot! Only six books for the month of June, but some really great reads overall. June is also my birthday month, so I added some fabulous new books to my collection and ever growing TBR. I got The Hate U Give, Ramona Blue, and The Six of Crows duology!!

Some of my favorites from this month were…

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Waking Gods is the second in The Themis Files series. If you haven’t already read Sleeping Giants, you should rectify that immediately. These are epistolary novels and because of that I highly recommend the audio version. I listened to Sleeping Giants when it first came out and didn’t want to wait for Waking Gods so I read it in print. The story really comes alive in the audio version and is a more immersive experience. Despite the format, I still found it very enjoyable and after that ending, legit cannot wait for the third one to come out.

 

 

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I’ve already written a love letter in review form for the Scorpio Races, which you can read here. This book is wonderful in every way. Another audio recommendation, but I have no doubt it will be incredible in any format. Maggie Stiefvater is my spirit animal.

 

 

 

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Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda is a really sweet story and yet another audio recommendation. I listened to this one all the way through and immediately started it again. It’s touching and funny and the relationship Simon has with his family is seriously goals.

 

 

 

The whole line up…

 

 

The Scorpio Races – 5 crowns

Dreams of Gods and Monsters – 5 crowns

Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda – 5 crowns

Into the Water – 4 crowns

Waking Gods – 4 crowns

My Life With Bob – 5 crowns