“What imperfect carriers of love we are, and what imperfect givers. That the reasons we can care for one another can have nothing to do with the person cared for. That it has only to do with who we were around that person—what we felt about that person.”
Goodbye, Vitamin is a touching and quirky novel that is quite lovely in its simplicity. It is told in a diary type format, and we get small fragments of daily events in the life of a woman named Ruth, over the course of a year. Ruth is thirty-years-old and dealing with the break-up of her engagement, which has left her feeling somewhat detached and lost. When she visits her family for the holidays, for the first time in many years, she learns of her father’s battle with dementia and gradually deteriorating condition. Ruth decides to quit her job and move home for a year to help. During this time she comes to terms with the end of her engagement, gains new knowledge about her family, and hopefully a new direction for her future.
“A long time ago I stopped wondering why there are so many crazy people. What surprises me now is that there are so many sane ones.”
I found this to be a really well crafted novel, and for such a short story, one that manages to evoke a fair amount of emotion, with moments of sadness, frustration, happiness, and humour. I liked Ruth’s voice and enjoyed following her throughout this year of her life. The format of the novel did take a few chapters to get used to, and initially felt somewhat disjointed. However, once I fell into the rhythm of the story I became very much connected to what was happening. I am a big fan of simple and minimalistic writing styles, so I thoroughly enjoyed Rachel Khong’s writing and truly noteworthy storytelling. The result is a lovely novel that tackles some difficult subjects with grace and humour. I look forward to reading more from this author and seeing what she releases next.