North & South - - Review -

Ruth Young is 30 and her life is un­rav­el­ling. She and her fi­ancé are mov­ing house – he’s just failed to tell her he’s do­ing it with an­other woman. Her ca­reer has stalled. Then, when she’s home for Christ­mas, her mother asks if she’ll stay on to help look after her fa­ther, a pop­u­lar his­tory pro­fes­sor whose re­cent Alzheimer’s di­ag­no­sis has ren­dered him un­will­ingly and iras­ci­bly re­tired. Writ­ten as a series of di­ary en­tries span­ning a year, Ruth’s nar­ra­tion shim­mies vividly from the rest­less­ness of her re­luc­tant home­com­ing to mo­ments of crazy love, such as a mad scheme cooked up with her fa­ther’s former stu­dents to keep him be­liev­ing he’s still ac­tively teach­ing. Laced with black hu­mour, Good­bye, Vi­ta­min ig­nites em­pa­thy for both the de­men­tia-af­flicted and their fam­i­lies, some­times when you least ex­pect it. VIR­GINIA LAR­SON

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