I picked this up at the Big Bad Wolf book sale in Dubai and I think we can all guess why I picked it up… such an eye catching cover! I was also intrigued by the blurb, it sounded like a chick-lit at first, but the final sentence of the blurb made me think there was something more to this plot. And I was right.
When Ruth moves back in with her parents at thirty years old, she feels her life is in tatters. Her fiancé has cruelly broken up with her and now she’s questioning what she wants. Who can blame her? She’d given up a lot for Joel: left college early, moved to where he wanted and found a job that suited the life style they’d created.
It’s a horrible feeling when someone closes a chapter of your life on you before you’re ready, but even harder is not knowing what the following chapter will hold.
Ruth is shocked when she returns home and discovers her father’s memory loss is so much worse than she’d thought. Even harder to handle is her mother’s lack of caring for her husband until Ruth discovers the truth.
It’s now up to Ruth to look after her father, which is probably the hardest thing she’s ever done in her life and distracts her broken heart.
Khong beautifully captures the changing dynamics of relationships, in particular Ruth and her father’s and I found her use of past journal entries explained her points further.
There was also this wonderful balance of highs and lows in both events and the characters’ emotions that captured an honesty within Khong’s words, making the book highly relatable.
Humour is wonderfully sprinkled on this story making it enchanting and easy to read. I loved some of the quirky thoughts that Ruth had. A favourite being
‘I shake the sand that’s collected on the welcome mat and wonder if the saying “To wear out one’s welcome” came about because of the mats. Did somebody visit somebody else so often that the WELCOME actually faded?’
And there’s plenty more of these, for me, this completely elevated the plot.
I felt that Khong created an intimate relationship between Ruth and the reader, and I think this is why I’m so attached to this story.
If you liked The Other Half of Augusta Hope for its wittiness, and The Honey Bus for its compelling breakdown of family dynamics; I think you might find something with Goodbye, Vitamin to fall in love with.
Goodbye, Vitamin is out now in the UK through Scribner UK and is easiest to get in paperback or eBook versions.
Until next time, Chloé x