RaveSF GateThis is both an adventure story and an extended meditation on loss ... Brave seems like the right word to sum up this woman and her book. The arc may be familiar - it\'s not hard to guess whether the ending will be redemptive - but Strayed\'s journey is exceptional, her voice clear and resonant. And she did not embark on her hike in order to write a memoir, but endured an experience that lingered in her memory and proved worth writing about. By the end, it\'s clear why a 1,100-mile hike solo through the wilderness was exactly what she needed. Throughout this captivating book, the universe hears her pleas, time and again meeting her needs, taking care of her. Or maybe it\'s Mother Nature. Strayed never makes this parallel overt, but it\'s clear that when she lost one mother, she placed her trust in this other one, and was not disappointed.
RaveSan Francisco ChronicleThis new book feels a lot like memoir...(especially knowing that Howard and her husband have adopted a child). But who cares what genre it’s classified in? The real-life influence gives the writing a sense of urgency, and it tells a great story with an important message, gathering enormous tension from the question of whether these lovingly rendered, well-intentioned people will manage to hang together as the family they’d like to be ... The writing is always clear, so the reader is always well grounded in time and space ... Howard finds an ending that is deeply moving and resonant. It’s a triumph of a book that captures an essential truth not just about how it feels to foster an already formed human being, but about the fragile, shape-shifting quality of any family.
RaveThe San Francisco ChronicleRachel Khong has managed to create an Alzheimer’s novel that is heartbreaking but also funny, offering a fresh take on the disease and possible outcomes both for the person suffering from it and their caretakers ... But the real charm of the novel isn’t the plot so much as the sparkling little details that pop up on every page, illuminating the dark material ... This isn’t melodrama; it’s a novel modeled on real life, where humor often rubs shoulders with pathos, and Ruth’s gift as a narrator is her ability to observe and record it all ... Goodbye, Vitamin never minimizes the difficulty of caring for someone with Alzheimer’s. But it also shows how this care can be rewarding.
PositiveThe San Francisco ChronicleOn the opening page, we learn that Bernadette — the wife of an upper-level Microsoft executive and mother of a 15-year-old girl — has gone missing. The novel takes the shape of a scrapbook compiled by her daughter, Bee, in an attempt to make sense of the months leading up to her mom's disappearance ... But Bee actually is an excellent girl, and a reliable narrator in a novel rich with fools ... The ending is a bit weaker than the beginning. The opening is more comic, clearly a farce, making it easy to forgive lapses of plausibility ... Still, this book mirrors its main character: original, brilliant and lovable in spite of its flaws ...is a novel about the relationship between a mother and daughter, and a daughter's attempt to understand her mother better, in particular the way that she needs to be creative in order to be her full self ... It's the rare book that actually deserves the term 'laugh-out-loud funny.'
RaveThe San Francisco ChronicleIt's a tricky book, but in the best way. When I got to the end, I wanted to start from the top again immediately, both to revisit the characters and to understand better how the pieces fit together. Like a masterful album, this one demands a replay.
PositiveThe San Francisco ChronicleIn writing that comes close to poetry, Newman really does manage to capture this bittersweet side of parenting, without overemphasizing either the bitter or the sweet. It’s the two together that epitomize the job of raising and loving people who are destined to grow up and leave you, and her ability to see this that makes this book so uniquely good.