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Goodbye, Vitamin
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2018 TOB Shortlist Books > Goodbye, Vitamin

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Amy (asawatzky) | 1691 comments so let's talk about it....


Dianah (fig2) | 255 comments Bad timing for me to read this book -- that said, I really did love it.


Jenny (Reading Envy) (readingenvy) | 626 comments I put this one off because I'd seen such mixed reviews but I really loved it. I think it's a perfect capture of how the size of your world changes when you're in a situation dealing with a family member's terminal illness. Little things become important, nostalgia moves into the foreground, humor and control are found in strange places... I thought she captured it exactly. My Dad was in hospice this past summer before dying of cancer and I found little bits in this book that resonated entirely.


Janet (justjanet) | 642 comments I loved it too but I fear it is not edgy enough for the Tournament of Books.


Ruthiella | 362 comments I agree that this book probably won't make it past the first round. But I really enjoyed reading it and it resonated with me as well, even though I have no experience with the death or serious illness of a loved one.

My only issue with the book is the plot got a little too unbelievable at times (classes on horse back?) but everything else rang true to me within the context of the novel and I loved the mix of humor and pathos.


Melanie Greene (dakimel) | 236 comments I loved it. Khong's mirroring of maturing-into-adulthood and regressing-into-Alzheimer's is just off-set enough to keep the tension vibrating. Like she was using funhouse mirrors instead of standard ones.

It didn't just tug at my heartstrings, it wrapped them in its fist and made me pay attention.


Melanie Greene (dakimel) | 236 comments And it got my zombie vote!


Erin Glover (erinxglover) | 101 comments I’m 25% of the way in and so far it’s very predictable. I hope something interesting happens soon. Please tell me there’s a little more action or conflict or tension to keep me turning the pages! I already know that Alzheimers sucks. Is this book going to teach me something I don’t know? Will it at least take me on an interesting journey? It feels pretty formulaic so far. Please help before I go on to the next TOB shortlist book.


Jenny (Reading Envy) (readingenvy) | 626 comments Erin wrote: "I’m 25% of the way in and so far it’s very predictable. I hope something interesting happens soon. Please tell me there’s a little more action or conflict or tension to keep me turning the pages! I..."

No, this is about the daily smallness of the shrunken world of a family dealing with a chronic illness. But the refocus on the mundane is kind of the point imho.


message 10: by Erin (new) - rated it 4 stars

Erin Glover (erinxglover) | 101 comments My bad. I just finished. This novel was delightful, if you can call a book about such a depressing topic delightful. I think you can if you find yourself laughing out loud while reading it. Which I did. Including a few minutes ago toward the end when Ruth says her mother told her to always eat the feet off the gingerbread man cookies so they wouldn't run away. I liked that the author made her father a real person with faults, big ones, like almost unforgivable ones, so the story seemed more real. The close narrative distance kept me engaged. I really liked this one. My initial impression was all wrong.


Kristin-Leigh (okrysmastree) | 58 comments I really loved this one - the way Ruth begins to mirror her father's journal of her childhood was poignant and used nicely. Overall the book wasn't a surprise, but the execution was good, and warm, and often that's what one wants from a book. Having just read Idaho's less conventional, more disturbing portrait of Alzheimers, this was a nice chaser. I wonder if these 2 will face off at any point!


Janet (justjanet) | 642 comments Kristin-Leigh wrote: "I really loved this one - the way Ruth begins to mirror her father's journal of her childhood was poignant and used nicely. Overall the book wasn't a surprise, but the execution was good, and warm,..."

I wondered the same thing....it would have made a good play-in.


Melanie Greene (dakimel) | 236 comments Yesterday I listened to the Books & Boba podcast's discussion of Goodbye, Vitamin, and I thought it was a great conversation, worth sharing here:

https://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/...


Peggy | 181 comments I just finished this book and was so surprised to find this book so utterly charming, though it's dealing with such painful material. I just adored Ruth's voice all the way through and agree the mirroring technique with her journal set off by her father's journal was so well-executed. I too wanted more from the mom--she's an enigma and stays that way--but overall this was a hugely satisfying read. Ruth's ex was a total douche--the way he "broke up" with her? By moving her out? Ugh. I look forward to the judgment on this one.


Bryn (Plus Others) (brynplusplus) | 94 comments I found this a little dull at first but then I found the rhythm of it and just devoured the last 2/3 of the book. I ended up really loving it -- it was poignant but I never felt like it was manipulative, which is a problem I often have with books that are about inherently sad subjects. Ruth's journey out of despair even in the midst of her father's illness really touched me and felt deeply real.


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Mainon (bravenewbooks) | 91 comments Bryn (Plus Others) wrote: "I it was poignant but I never felt like it was manipul..."

Bryn, I agree completely. I can't believe I enjoyed a book about such a sad subject so immensely. (I often avoid books about subjects like this because they can lead to mini-bouts of depression for me.) So I was a little worried about this one, but it was the happiest sad book I've read in a long time.

I also loved the style, almost like juxtaposed pieces of microfiction at times. It reminded me a little of Dept. of Speculation, which I flat-out adored. That style made it okay when sometimes we saw several consecutive days, and sometimes we seemed to skip weeks or months (a thing that irritated me in a more linear narrative like Pachinko).


message 17: by Lisa (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lisa (lisgitt) | 88 comments I had to upgrade my rating from 4 to 5 stars because this book made a lasting impression on me. I hope it does better than I think it will.

The Animators was my zombie vote, but this would be a close second.


Tristan | 105 comments Sunita wrote: "I finished it but it was a struggle in the last third. I really liked the first half, I loved the voice, but it became very one-note to me. I agree that the depiction of Alzheimer's and the toll it..."

I felt like Khong phoned it in for the last quarter of the book. To me it felt like she had a great outline of the entire book. Wrote a draft. Revised the first 75% of it and then realized she had a deadline and submitted it that way. It just wasn't as well developed as the rest of the book.

I appreciated how as she got more and more access to her father's journal about her childhood her own notes started mirroring the style of her father's journal. But I still needed more.

I'm about 40% through Idaho and if I had to pick at this point I'd chose Goodbye, Vitamin. Idaho might be a more realistic depiction of dementia, but so far Goodbye, Vitamin is the better read. Ruth is a more enjoyable and relate-able character than Ann.


Gwendolyn | 175 comments This novel is dealing with very sad material in many ways, but I liked how Khong manages to give it a lightness and humor that’s unexpected and refreshing. Khong’s writing is so spare but also beautiful and startling at the same time.

Although this is a very slender novel at just over 200 pages (with plenty of white space in those pages), I found myself reading it slowly, savoring Khong’s unique phrases.

This novel is one of those rare ones that is warmhearted without being “heartwarming” (that dreaded adjective that’s usually applied to books that read like screenplays of Hallmark movies).


message 20: by Amy (new) - added it

Amy (asawatzky) | 1691 comments Goodbye, Vitamin is $2.99 today for kindle on Amazon


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