Fiction Recommendations

Goodbye, Vitamin by Rachel Khong

Goodbye, Vitamin is a slim little book, but it sure packs a punch. Equal parts charming humor and heartbreaking reflection, this book by Rachel Khong worms its way into your heart so gracefully, you hardly see it coming when it whollops you right in the gut.

It is a simple chronicle of a year in the life of Ruth, a woman in the wake of a painful breakup, who goes to stay with her parents when her dad is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. Told entirely through her journal entries, we get a glimpse into her year as she and her family navigate life with the man her father is becoming and struggle to reconcile this with the man he once was. Khong handles the treatment of this disease with a frank eye. She explores how it tears a family apart and how it brings them together. She recognizes the pain it brings with the same matter-of-factness with which she elucidates the funny.

But perhaps the most enjoyable part for me was the descriptions of the mundanity of life, the observations of a woman whose life has slowed. I read these parts like I used to consume Seinfeld, delighting in the weirdness of everyday life. Ruth’s journal is chock-full of one-line observations and it reminded of how I live my life: watching everyone around me, feeling both completely alien and absolutely connected. Khong’s writing is sharp and insightful and I can’t wait to see what she does next!



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