Goodbye, Vitamin by Rachel Khong

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 man her father has become.
I felt like such an adult reading this book. Maybe because all I read is YA or younger most of the time or maybe it's because as a certified adult (according to the government) I could relate.

No, my father doesn't have Alzheimer's; I didn't stop going to school for a guy (Come on, Ruth. Really?); I didn't go through a recent break up which has me questioning everything (I haven't even been a relationship. Yes, I know I'm 24.); and I haven't had to face my parent's scandalous choices; however, Goodbye Vitamin's honest look into Ruth's life felt like I was going through my own journey - one I feel I've been through and learned from after reading this book.

Ruth comes back home to live with her parents for a year at her mother's request. Her father's Alzheimer is getting worse and her brother is nowhere to be found for help. His tumultuous relationship with his father is unlike her loving memories of her and her father growing up. Her father is different now, he isn't even allowed to teach at the university. He's always grumpy, is easily confused, and is stubborn as always. Her mother acts differently as well, she doesn't cook every meal like she always has loved to do. She has forfeited her love of cooking because of warnings of foil and other items that might effect the continued growth of Alzheimer's. There's this distance between the two parents as well that leads back to something her father did.

Meanwhile Ruth has split from a serious relationship and as she tries to deal with her emotions with that, she gets close with a former student of her father's - Theo. Their friendship and co-conspiracy to help her father was a bit in the background but had me hopeful throughout the whole story. Ruth's journey is dealing with the past and trying to find a way forward. Not everything was or is perfect but life moves on, it is up to Ruth to pick up the pieces, and find happiness again.

Goodbye, Vitamin has a slow pace which worked with the contemplative feel of the story. As I was reading, I was contemplating on a lot of things I dealt with career wise and personally this past year. I had such a reflective attitude when reading Goodbye Vitamin that it took me over a month to finish this 208 page book! I know that seems like a ridiculous time to take for something I claim to have enjoyed but I truly enjoyed every minute reading this story. I can't express how much I needed to read Ruth's story. I read it at the perfect time in my life. It's one of those stories that fit like a puzzle piece into my own story.

Ruth's father kept notes about interesting things his daughter would say to him. What's one notable thing/moment you've said as a kid or your parent has said to you?


  1. Sounds like a book to make you think for sure and those sometimes DO take longer to read, but that doesn't mean they were bad.


  2. This book sounds amazing. Especially since you felt you could relate to it so much- even though your lives are so different. Although I don't have my own children- I often wish I had started writing down the things my students say to me. I guess I could always start now. :)

    1. You should!!! Kids truly say the funniest things. It'll be nice to look back later on.


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