There is a saying that every cloud has a silver lining, but for this particular book I had to try to find the right saying to express the opposite. The best way I could describe it is that it’s like that last good day or so that you get out of a bouquet of flowers. You can see the leaves starting to brown, the petals starting to lose luster, but you are still focused on changing the water and enjoying the beauty while it lasts. That’s what this book is like. Goodbye, Vitamin was a funny and delightful story tinged with the sadness that comes with slowly losing a family member to dementia.
Fear not, this is not a tear jerker. It is sentimental and realistic, but doesn’t rip your heart out of your chest. Khong keeps everything backlit with just enough sunlight to keep the focus on love and support and not on despair. We get glimpses into what families try to do to stop the progression of the disease: vitamins, healthy foods, exercise, mental stimulation – all these are used by Ruth and her mom to help her dad try to retain as much of himself as he can for as long as possible.
Ruth is a divorcee who decides to quit her job as a sonographer to move back in to help her mom with her dad. She struggles with moving on from her marriage as she attempts to help and understand her parents. Her father was a well-loved professor at the university, and his students ask for the chance to help as well after he is asked by the dean to take a leave of absence until his health condition improves. Much of the comedy of the book comes from Ruth interacting with these students, trying to make her dad believe he’s teaching a class on California history while avoiding the dean of his college, who has threatened her dad with arrest should he be caught on campus.
This was a very fast read for me, enjoyable content plus short length always equals a one day read, and I was through the 194 pages before you could say lickity-split. Khong’s story made my heart smile while staying realistic about the sadness that accompanies this condition. I recommend it with all the strength I can muster. Go get you some.