Book Review - Goodbye, Vitamin by Rachel Khong
I received this book from @turnthepagexo back in February when I participated in a bookish Galentine's Day package exchange organized by @hereadsshereads and @definitelyra. It was also the February selection for the Girls Night In Club. In addition to this book, the package came with a beautiful card, a notepad from Rifle Paper Co and dark chocolate from Superfina. It was the perfect Galentine's package and made me SO happy when it arrived. I know planning an exchange like that is A TON of work, so I commend Chelsea and RA for pulling it off. So I know this one has been sitting on my shelf for months just begging to be read, but my review comes just in time for the release of the paper back...so I feel like that's a win!
Goodbye, Vitamin by Rachel Khong is written like a diary with entries about random things that happened through the day - some funny, some curious, some heart breaking, some just facts or observances. I can't remember having read a book quite like this one. At first I was unsure if I liked the way it was written, but it quickly grew on me and found it quite comforting - as if the writer was my friend and she was chatting with me over wine. I can't think of a better way to describe it...comforting is the perfect word.
The book is about Ruth, who just called off her engagement, quit her job, and moved back in with her parents. As if that wasn't enough of an adjustment, she finds that her father (once a prominent history professor) is losing his memory. Although the book was primarily written from Ruth's perspective, we also got snippets of her father's journal detailing Ruth's coming of age. The parallels between Ruth learning names of fruit as a child and her father forgetting names of fruit as an older man, were stunningly portrayed in Goodbye, Vitamin.
Of course, I can't help but think of my own family members who have suffered at the hands of Alzheimers. As a child, I distinctly remember visiting my Great-Grandmother at the nursing home while I was in town visiting my Grandma. There was a time I would be able to walk a few doors down to visit my Great-Grandmother at her apartment but she had to be moved to the nursing home as her memory began to fail her. We had just visited her the day before but she was upset when we arrived that day because "no one ever came to visit," She was heartbroken, my Grandmother was heartbroken. As we left, my Grandmother said having Alzheimers was the worst way to go and she was scared it would happen to her. Shortly after my Grandfather died she began showing symptoms of the disease. I was sad and worried for her but rather than becoming sad or angry, she became what I can only describe as aloof. Which is the best possible outcome when being diagnosed with Alzheimers. I visited her around Christmas this past year and my Dad and I brought her Stover's Chocolates, her favorite. We asked if she remembered them and she replied "Ohhhhh, yes!" and grabbed for the box. Alzheimers is a strange disease.