I’m going to apologize, writing blogs about books got away from me for a bit. Life. Life always happens. Today I’m bringing you a review about a book that I read in the middle of the month, but before that, can someone please tell me where August disappeared to? Please.
A young woman returns home to care for her failing father in this fine, funny, and inescapably touching debut, from an affecting and wonderfully original new literary voice.
A few days after Christmas in a small suburb outside of L.A., pairs of a man’s pants hang from the trees. The pants belong to Howard Young, a prominent history professor, recently diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. Howard’s wife, Annie, summons their daughter, Ruth. Freshly disengaged from her fiance and still broken up about it, feeling that life has not turned out quite the way she planned, thirty-year-old Ruth quits her job and arrives home to find her parents’ situation worse than she’d realized. Her father is erratically lucid and her mother, a devoted and creative cook, sees the sources of memory loss in every pot and pan. But as Howard’s condition intensifies, the comedy in Ruth’s situation takes hold, gently transforming her grief. She throws herself into caretaking: cooking dementia-fighting meals (a feast of jellyfish!), researching supplements, anything to reignite her father’s once-notable memory. And when the university finally lets Howard go, Ruth and one of her father’s handsome former students take their efforts to help Howard one step too far.
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.
I enjoyed this book, a lot. While it has a mixed bag of reviews on Goodreads I didn’t take that to heart. I figured there had to be a reason why it was chosen for Book Of The Month and sure enough, the style of writing and the way in which Khong talked about such a hard subject; it all just lured me in.
The way that Khong talked about the relationships of the main character and her family memebers made me feel like I was a part of the action, involved in what was going on in their lives even though I wasn’t present. It was a very informal way of talking about such a hard disease, but the candid way of talking about it just made the stigma behind it vanish. So many people get embarrassed and frustrated when their family member ends up with dimentia.
What I liked what through this book, Khong introduced other relationships and how this disease that her dad had wasn’t only affecting their immediate family but other people who knew her das from his job. The fact that the main character and someone that her dad worked with at the university formed a fake class so that he could continue teaching and continue his passion, it was inspiring, though it ended up failing. But another thing that made this book more humanizing was the fact that the father’s infidelity to his wife kept coming into play. It was interesting with the role that it took on and how his immediate family members felt about it, and close colleagues.
Overall, I felt that Khong could’ve done a little bit more with certain characters and their development (I feel like that’s always my gripe), but the high note that this book ended on is what set my heart on fire. I don’t think there’s a better ending to a book about such a heavy topic.