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Goodbye, Vitamin: A Novel Kindle Edition
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|Length: 208 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled|
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Top customer reviews
Ruth Young is the 30 year old protagonist who quits her job to fulfill her mother's request that she come home to care for her father, Howard. A respected and beloved history professor, he is slowly succumbing to Alzheimer's disease. While this is a heavy topic for any novel, I found that the author dealt with the issues with tenderness and compassion...even a bit of humor.
The story of Howard's descent into dementia is told in "journal entry" style over a year's period of time. It explores, through his daughter's perspective, the impact of the disease on his family members, colleagues, students and friends. I particularly enjoyed the snippets of Ruth's precocious childhood point of view captured in her father's writings which he gives to her over time. Toward the end of the book, Ruth's entries begin to mirror this style as she records her father's day-to-day comments and actions.
This is not a "feel good" summer read, nor is it an in-depth exploration of the emotional, mental and physical tolls associated with dementia. It is an engaging and heart-felt approach to love, loss, and grief. The one thing that didn't really make sense is the title. It is a bit confusing and I kept waiting to find its relevance in my reading. Finally, I came upon one throw-away line which did not justify the title choice in my opinion. If it was chosen to be provocative, it worked - I selected the book in part because the title intrigued me.
Unfortunately I can relate to Ruth, as my own father has dementia. Although my father's disease has progressed past the point of Ruth's father, Howard's, I remember the days when there were good and bad moments and the many things I didn't want to forget about that time.
Khong does a great job of writing about a tough topic, creating characters that felt real, and totally sucking me into this novel within the first page.
Ruth is at a turning point in her life. She has just, to her surprise, become disengaged from her fiancé, and is on her way home to help her mother take care of her father who is in the early throes of dementia. Her father is aware of what is going on and is not happy about this babysitting situation, nor is he happy that he has just been forced out of the university where he has been a well-regarded professor.
Things are prickly at first between the family members. Ruth’s father’s loving diary notes are woven throughout the story, which he kept about Ruth’s words, questions, and curiosity about life while she was growing up. The notes are subtle but show us another side of him and his tenderness toward his daughter. There will be a pivotal point in the book where it all comes together and roles are reversed. It is so tender that you can’t help but fall in love with Ruth and her father.
her family living through the experience of her father's recently diagnosed Alzheimer's but on memory
itself. For a book with a heavy subject it can be playful and witty and then break your heart. A fine debut that reminds me of early Ann Tyler books. Highly recommended.
Ruth is a professional in California who comes home to help take care of her father who is suffering from the disease. We find that Ruth's father, Howard used to be a professor and has recently lost his job due to the disease. Meanwhile Howard's wife and Ruth's mother, Mary is in the background dealing with an illicit affair Howard had years ago. We are taken for a poignant ride as readers turn the pages.
At first I did have an issue with the journal style of this novel, it can be a bit off-putting, but in the end it is worth the time and patience you put into this novel.
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