This time we're reading a heartwarming book about Alzheimer's disease—something many of us has come in contact with through relatives and friends. Rachel Khong’s Goodbye, Vitamin is the winner of the Club’s 2018 first fiction award (as well as many other awards). The book’s narrator is 30-year-old Ruth Young. Ruth goes home for Christmas for the first time in years, after her fiancé has dumped her for another woman. Her father, a history professor, has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, and her flummoxed mother asks her to stay home and help for a year. When a stranger calls to say he's found her father's newly labeled pants and shirts hanging from trees up and down the road, Ruth realizes she "can't not stay."
The novel has many facets—getting over a bad breakup and reconnecting with family. It's also about a devoted father, who went into a tailspin involving booze and an affair when his adored firstborn left home, a situation that was exacerbated when Ruth stayed away after hearing her younger brother's distressing reports. Most of all, though, it's about memory and forgiveness, and the realization that both are selective, subjective and unpredictable.
The Reading Californians Book Discussion Group meets the first Monday every other month at The Commonwealth Club’s new building to discuss the California Book Awards’ gold and silver medal winners.
Location: 110 The Embarcadero, Max Thelan Boardroom, San Francisco Time: 5:30 p.m. check-in, 6 p.m. program MLF: Reading Californians Program organizer: Kalena Gregory
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