Other books I finished this week include
“Goodbye, Vitamin” by Rachel Khong. I had ordered the book as part of my Book of the Month subscription, excited by the synopsis. While the novel gets off to a slow start early on, it begins to pick up the pace, and you can’t help but want to continue reading. There is a tender melancholy that begins to pull you in.
Fresh off a broken engagement, Ruth quits her job and moves back home to take care of her dementia-addled father. Told via journal-style, we follow Ruth as she explores her relationships with her family, friendships, even the unsteady footing of a new romance. Ruth is not an organized storyteller so readers expecting a linear storyline might be disappointed. However, I found that it worked in the novel’s favor.
I liked that we didn’t dwell too deeply in the far past. I think had the author done that, I would have been taken out of the story fairly quickly. We stay in the present with Ruth, as she reflects on the end of her engagement with Joel, her re-readings of her father’s diary entries. Howard, a history professor, is witty and human, and certain interactions just break your heart. As you get to the end of the novel, it begins to feel like it’s speeding up, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
For a novel with a heavy subject matter, it didn’t feel overwhelming or depressing. It was a fine line to quick and I think the author walked it well.