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Goodbye, Vitamin

3.72  ·  Rating details ·  20,562 ratings  ·  2,809 reviews
Goodbye, Vitamin is the wry, beautifully observed story of a woman at a crossroads, as Ruth and her friends attempt to shore up her father's career; she and her mother obsess over the ambiguous health benefits - in the absence of a cure - of dried jellyfish supplements and vitamin pills; and they all try to forge a new relationship with the brilliant, childlike, irascible ...more
Paperback, 208 pages
Published July 11th 2017 by Henry Holt and Co. (first published June 1st 2017)
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Lexie Frensley This is a very delayed answer, but as a middle school teacher, I just don't think this book would be thematically interesting to many 12 y/os! …moreThis is a very delayed answer, but as a middle school teacher, I just don't think this book would be thematically interesting to many 12 y/os! (less)
Leslie Lindsay There's a lot to discuss: aging/declining parents, 'the sandwich generation' (though the adult children in this story don't have their own children), …moreThere's a lot to discuss: aging/declining parents, 'the sandwich generation' (though the adult children in this story don't have their own children),

Dementia/Alzheimer's disease,

Going home, holidays and expectations, childhood memories.

Relationships and Break-ups;

Doing our best even when it's hard and you don't 'feel' at your best, plus there are a lot of little factoids interspersed throughout the narrative that I found intriguing and new (at least to me).

Also, the book is relatively short and lends well to someone who might be short on time for reading on a deadline. (less)

Community Reviews

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Average rating 3.72  · 
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Emily May
Nov 01, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: contemporary, 2017, botm
"Vegetable jokes," he says. "It's all I'm good for anymore."
"What do you mean?" I say.
He points to the couple. "Isn't it romaine-tic?"

I realise I’m in the minority, but I just didn’t find this book funny. I always feel that humour is one of the most subjective aspects of a book, and the style here didn't work for me at all. It wasn't my only issue with Goodbye, Vitamin, but it was probably the biggest one. Maybe my disconnect with the humour led into all the other problems I had.

It's a book
Adam Dalva
Dec 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Wow, what a wonderful, touching, FUNNY novel, one of my favorites of the year. The structure is very clever - it's a rare novel of reverse accumulation. Ruth has gone home to take care of her father, who has Alzheimer's, and as his memory-loss accelerates, certain plots that would have been used for melodrama by a lesser writer (an affair; a slapstick sequence of classes) fade out because her dad has simply forgotten them. The writing is clever too, with an interesting, tender pivot between care ...more
Larry H
Jul 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
I'm between 3.5 and 4 stars, so I'll round up.

It's ironic how a book told so simply could pack so much beauty and emotion into its words, but Rachel Khong's Goodbye, Vitamin did just that. This is a somewhat quirky, slightly odd book that I found quite moving—in fact, I had to do the "no, I'm not crying, I'm just rubbing my eyes" thing more than a few times on my plane ride this morning.

Ruth is 30 years old. Her engagement has ended and she feels untethered to the life she has known, so she
Amalia Gkavea
"It doesn't matter who remembers what, I guess, so long as somebody remembers something."

"Goodbye, Vitamin" came highly recommended by many people whose opinion I trust and I had high hopes. I expected to enjoy it- if such a verb can be used in this context - but I didn't expect to love it so much. It was a novel that moved me deeply and made me lose my stop in the Tube on my way back from work. And this happens extremely rarely, so you understand how much it influenced me.

Ruth returns home
Apr 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing
4.5 Stars rounded up

There 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
Goodbye, Vitamin. Goodbye! I yell louder and wave more frantically, in case it isn’t clear: Goodbye! No, I won’t see you later. Go find another reader, one who will appreciate you!

Yep, I had to head to the shed and drag out the old Complaint Board. It’s been collecting cobwebs, which is a good thing because it means that recently I’ve been reading a lot of books I love.

I’m in the minority here. Most people liked this book about a daughter, Ruth, returning home to care for her demented dad. It
3.5 Stars.. "Just the year is all it will be."

GOODBYE, VITAMIN is a light read about a heavy subject matter......Alzheimer's.

It is about a husband/father with declining "lapses in memory....a forgotten betrayal....a special love for daughter Ruth....and the various ways family members keep him eating, involved, happy and active....some are so very touching.

It is about....and a bit heavy.... on daughter Ruth's personal life, her past and most recent relationship...the breakup... and her reconnect

Aug 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
Goodbye, Vitamin by Rachel Khong is a 2017 Henry Holt publication.

Poignant and bittersweet

I wasn’t sure if I had the emotional wherewithal right now to read a novel that most assuredly would lean toward the depressing side.

But, on occasion, I simply can't resist a publishing push and with less than two hundred pages I figured I could handle whatever emotional punches were thrown my way.

Once I started reading the book, however, I found the tone to be lighter than I had anticipated, and soon fo
Apr 17, 2018 rated it liked it
I’m dealing with two aging parents, one of whom has some memory issues. So, this book interested me. Ruth is much younger than me, just 30. Her father is young enough to still be working when Alzheimer’s rears its ugly head. Her fiancé has just left her and she’s feeling rudderless, so she quits her job and moves home to help her mother take care of him. Her younger brother offers no help.

This is billed as a comedy. But at the beginning, it seemed more hopeless than comedic. It made me feel sad
Jill McGill
Jun 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: netgalley, fiction
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
Jul 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing
After a breakup with her fiancé, whom she quit college, to follow him to California, Ruth returns to her hometown to help her mom care for her dad who has Alzheimer's.
This is an introspective time for her, and also a humorous yet heartbreaking time as she cares for him and deals with her own issues. I really liked the journal entries that her father kept about her through her growing up years which he shares with her throughout the book.

Thank you to Henry Holt and Company Publishing and Netgall
Jul 28, 2017 rated it liked it
Ruth returns home after being absent for some time to help deal with her father's declining health due to having Alzheimer's. I enjoyed how this book was told in a fresh humorous way, she gently touches on the everyday sad reality of losing someone you love to this cruel illness and steered away from what could have been a sad, depressing story, the only criticism is that the book lacked a little focus, it felt somewhat disjointed and random it didn't flow for me enough to feel coherent as a who ...more
Jenny (Reading Envy)
I'd seen mixed reviews of this one so I held off on it for a while. But I knew it was a quick read so I finally picked it up. I personally loved the sparse contents, a journal with brief entries of a sort, chronological over the course of a year. Ruth, the novel's narrator, returns to her parents' home to help with her father, who has Alzheimer's. Her own relationship has failed and she quits her job to return home, after several consecutive years (or at least holidays) away, so she hasn't seen ...more
Aug 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites, own
"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."

Although this be a slim little book, it is chock full of feeling. Familial love. Romantic love. Selfish love. Imperfect love. This book chronicles a year in Ruth's life when she abandons her independent life away from home, to help her mother car
Apr 13, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 in his journal:

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,
Jessica Jeffers
Jul 10, 2017 rated it really liked it
I loved this book. I want to curl up with Rachel Khong's writing and take a nap with it. It's so lovely and thoughtful and comforting. ...more
Jul 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
4.5 stars

What a sweet, sad, yet funny book. Told in journal entry format, the novel follows one year in the life of Ruth, who, reeling from a break-up, goes home to help her mother take care of her father who is suffering from Alzheimer’s. She has avoided her family for years, as her father was a drinker and cheated on her mom.

Throughout the novel are snippets of journal entries of her father’s from when Ruth was a child. The wonder of the world through a child’s eyes is seen, as many of the en
Jul 12, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: owned
This is a sweet story that reminded me of the film "Other People." It somehow straddles being light and quick with such a heavy subject matter: Alzheimer's. Hard to call it a summer poolside read because it is a bit sad, but I can imagine taking this one on a vacation if you're in the mood for something to get lost in or dip in and out of, but still finish in a timely manner. ...more
Barry Pierce
I picked up Goodbye, Vitamin because I had read a review which called it a 'comic novel about Alzheimer's'. I am very much of the belief that anything can be made funny, even Alzheimer's, so this novel sounded right up my alley. I quickly discovered however that this isn't a comic novel about Alzheimer's, it's a comic novel featuring Alzheimer's. But this didn't put me off, Rachel Khong's hilarious worldview kept me going throughout this short novel.

The plot revolves around Ruth, a woman who
Melissa Crytzer Fry
Jun 28, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: first-reads
**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
Jul 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I'm trying to put my feelings into words about this lovely first novel by Rachel Khong and what I feel is I want to hug this book and everyone in it and tell them it will be ok, they are good, and they are loved.

This is a slender little novel, barely 200 pages long. And it often feels like a short story stretched out on a rack, which may not sound complimentary but it's meant to be; there’s a perfectly full but fleeting sense to things. It's written as diary entries in a year of the life of Ruth
Julie Ehlers
Unfortunately I have to check the "nope" column for this one. I just wasn't feeling the love so many Goodreaders seem to have for Goodbye, Vitamin. For starters, I wasn't a fan of the "this happened, and then this happened, and then this happened" writing style. I also had a strong feeling that the author had saved up every oddball thought she and her BFFs had had for the past five or six years and spent it all on her first novel—the quirkiness just felt extremely forced and some of the metaphor ...more
Oct 10, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Witty, comical, downright hilarious at times... once I started this I was so afraid that reading about Alzheimer’s would trigger sad memories from when my grandma had it but this story was funny.

Ruth goes to live with her parents after a breakup from her fiancé just when her dad is at the beginning stages of memory loss. Through most of the story it’s her dad giving her snippets of memories he had of her as a girl and at the same time Ruth is making her own memories with her dad before the dise
Lolly K Dandeneau
Mar 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing
via my blog
What 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
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 ...more
Book of the Month
You Are What You Eat
By Judge Isaac Fitzgerald

I’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
Aug 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
30 year old Ruth finds herself sitting alone in her new apartment. She was supposed to be sharing the place with her fiance Joel - who, on the day of the move, announced he wouldn’t be joining her and instead would be staying at their old place with his new girlfriend.

Soon after she is home for the holidays where she learns that her father has been having lapses. He’s in the early stages of Alzheimer’s and has already lost his position at the college teaching history. Ruth is asked to stay for
3.5 stars
Skyler Autumn
Aug 22, 2018 rated it it was ok
2.5 Stars

Goodbye, Vitamin tackles the topic of Alzheimer's and the impact it has on the people around you. Ruth recently turned 30 and dealing with her own grief after being broken up with by her Fiance. Decides to return home to live for a year, to help her Mother care for her Father whose going through the beginning stages of Alzheimer's, while also getting a better understanding of herself and her family.

This novel although written well left me underwhelmed. I'm not quite sure if it was th
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
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