Goodbye, Vitamin (Hardcover)
Ruth Young’s father, professor Howard Young is in the early stages of dementia. Her mother has asked her to come home, for a year maybe, to help, and since her fiancé has left her for another woman, Ruth decides she might as well. She loves her father but he hasn’t always been faithful to her mother so she’s conflicted. But life is not black and white and when her father’s teaching assistant asks her to help him create a “pretend” class for her dad to teach, Ruth goes along with it. In the process, she learns that while the mind forgets some things, the heart doesn’t and love and forgiveness matter more than anything. This is Khong’s first novel and it’s both funny and sad; I loved it.— From Anne Holman
July 2017 Indie Next List
“It seems impossible that Khong could tuck so much kindness, honesty, and eclectic humor into one little book! Questioning her life choices in the midst of a major breakup, Ruth, our narrator, returns home to care for her father, an Alzheimer's patient, and gives daily dispatches full of love, rich observations, and clever, unique jokes. Stuffed with rich descriptions of food and cooking and anchored by imperfect-but-tireless familial love, this book goes down as smoothly as a cool glass of water and is as nourishing and thoughtful as it is fun at every turn.”
— Annie Harvieux (W), Magers & Quinn Booksellers, Minneapolis, MN
Named a Best Book of the Year by NPR, O, The Oprah Magazine, Vogue, San Francisco Chronicle, Esquire, Huffington Post, Nylon, Entertainment Weekly, Buzzfeed, Booklist, and The Independent
Winner of the California Book Award for First Fiction
Los Angeles Times Book Prize Finalist for First Fiction
"A quietly brilliant disquisition . . . told in prose that is so startling in its spare beauty that I found myself thinking about Khong's turns of phrase for days after I finished reading."--Doree Shafrir, The New York Times Book Review
"One of those rare books that is both devastating and light-hearted, heartful and joyful. . . . Don't miss it."--Buzzfeed
"Hello, Rachel Khong. Kudos for this delectable take on familial devotion and dementia."--NPR
Her life at a crossroads, a young woman goes home again in this funny and inescapably moving debut from a wonderfully original new literary voice.
Freshly disengaged from her fianc and feeling that life has not turned out quite the way she planned, thirty-year-old Ruth quits her job, leaves town and arrives at her parents' home to find that situation more complicated than she'd realized. Her father, a prominent history professor, is losing his memory and is only erratically lucid. Ruth's mother, meanwhile, is lucidly erratic. But as Ruth's father's condition intensifies, the comedy in her situation takes hold, gently transforming her all her grief.
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.
About the Author
Rachel Khong grew up in Southern California and holds degrees from Yale University and the University of Florida. From 2011 to 2016, she was the managing editor then executive editor of Lucky Peach magazine. Her fiction and nonfiction have appeared in Tin House, Buzzfeed, Joyland, American Short Fiction, The San Francisco Chronicle, The Believer, and California Sunday. Goodbye, Vitamin is her debut novel. She lives in San Francisco.