Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Book Review: 'Goodbye, Vitamin'

In the style of Jami Attenberg's All Grown Up, Good bye, Vitamin features the voice of Ruth, in his early '30s and never coming to age. 
Moved temporarily with her mother to stay with her as her father, an university teacher, is showing the first signs of Alzheimer's, never going over of the cruelty of being left by her boyfriend, who naturally breaking up in the day they were supposed to move together, with no career plans, Ruth is observing. Anchored in the present and haunted by the past, she is trying to put together the pieces of the puzzle which is the life of her parents. Through their story, she seems to start discovering what adults are all about and how they cope with main life decisions and betrayals. 
Unfairly and for obvious marketing reasons, the book was often described as 'humorous'. I would rather say it is an ironic pamphlet about never growing up, confused ages and not assuming responsibility. Ruth is simple, not judgemental, happy to have friends but doing nothing against existential inertia. She is an interesting character of our ages, having a bit of everything but actually nothing of her own. 
The book is written in a diary format, with often divagations to the past. It includes short notes of the diary of her ailing father, ironically, with referenecs to her early childhood, the first existential questions and the mispronunciation of words. Ironical, because the father himself is entering a stage where not only the short-term memory is disappearing, but also the capacity of remembering some words and their meaning. 
Overall, Goodbye, Vitamin is a subtle meditation about aging in our times, obsession with healthiness that couldn't predict our fate though. Personally, I don't like characters like Ruth in books and in real life, but the book is worth reading for its unique style and approach to modern life and its craziness. 

Rating: 3.5 stars

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