Vinegar Girl by Anne Tyler

June 17, 2016 Shakespearean 9

It’s Friday, Bookworms!

I made it through a full week of reviews! I have no idea what I’m going to talk about next week, but that is unimportant at the moment. Frankly, this daily review thing has been a great distraction from this God-awful week in the news. Plus, who doesn’t love a good Shakespeare retelling? Vinegar Girl by Ann Tyler is the latest in the Hogarth Shakespeare series, which sees Shakespeare’s stories retold by some of today’s award winning authors. Let’s tame a shrew, shall we? *I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher for review consideration. I’m a bit of a shrew myself, so you can count on unfettered honesty.*

vinegar girlVinegar Girl takes a modern look at Shakespeare’s immortal classic, The Taming of the Shrew. Granted, I’ve never actually read The Taming of the Shrew (I have a hard time sitting down and just reading Shakespeare) BUT I have seen 10 Things I Hate About You approximately 8 billion times. Because Julia Styles and her “angry girl music of the indie rock persuasion” was everything high school Katie wanted to be. And Heath Ledger (rest in peace, bro) was just so swoon-worthy. Obviously I am extremely qualified to discuss this book. (I still can’t figure out why publishers give me stuff either, but SHHHHHH don’t tell them I’m inept!)

Kate Battista’s life hasn’t turned out exactly how she planned. It’s not that she necessarily had a clear plan, but keeping house for her eccentric scientist father, taking care of her spoiled little sister Bunny, and working in a daycare where she’s constantly being reprimanded  definitely wasn’t part of it. It’s not her fault parents don’t always appreciate her unusual opinions and lack of filter. The kids love her, shouldn’t that be enough?

Dr. Battista is on the verge of a scientific breakthrough, thanks to the help of his brilliant young research assistant Pytor. Unfortunately, Pytor? He’s about to be deported. In his infinite wisdom, Dr. Battista decides that if Kate will only marry Pytor, everyone’s problems will be solved. Because that always works out well.

It’s a ludicrous premise. It always has been. That doesn’t mean it isn’t still charming. Tyler adds in so many wonderful and weird little touches from a bizarre culinary staple to a misguided attempt at activism. I love Kate with all her sour sass and Pyotr with his awkward attempts to win her over. Dr. Battista was a bit of a buffoon, just shy of lovable, and Bunny needed a good smacking. But, all in all, it was a fun little romp through a well-worn story.

Talk to me, Bookworms! What’s your favorite Shakespeare retelling? Books or movies, I’m not picky. 

*If you make a purchase through a link on this site, I will receive a small commission.*

9 Responses to “Vinegar Girl by Anne Tyler”

  1. mwgerard

    It sounds amusing. And don’t forget – Shakespeare was intended to be WATCHED, not read. Try to catch a local play or rent “Kiss Me Kate.” While I do read Shakespeare sometimes, it’s only ones I have seen.

  2. Megan M.

    My favorite is probably Romeo + Juliet of the Leo variety. The music! I listened to the soundtrack all the time. I love 10 Things too but I actually haven’t seen it in a long time. The “Much Ado About Nothing” that Joss Whedon did was pretty good, too. I hadn’t ever seen or read that one before. I’ve never seen A Midsummer Night’s Dream, either. There’s several Shakespeare plays that I’m not familiar with.

  3. Imaginary Book Club (@ImaginaryBC)

    Sooooo, I hate Taming of the Shrew. The whole concept is just horrible. I remember Degrassi doing a whole episode on Taming of the Shrew and how weirdly violent and oppressive it is.

    But – 10 Things I Hate About You is an old favorite movie of mine. The power of a revival, right?

  4. monikalovelybookshelf

    I have a hard time sitting down and reading Shakespeare, too. There’s a Shakespeare festival in Alabama every year, though, not too far from me, and I’ve heard it’s incredible even if you don’t enjoy reading him. Maybe one day…

    PS – There are pics of your pint-sized bff on my blog today! 😉

  5. A.M.B.

    I remember loving Kiss Me Kate and 10 Things I Hate About You, but I’ve never really loved Taming of the Shrew. This book sounds like fun, though.

  6. Michelle

    I’m really excited about this book. I guess I haven’t been paying attention to the other books in the Hogarth series, but I see that there was already one done on “The Merchant of Venice.” I don’t know why but that is my favorite Shakespeare play, so now I need to get my hands on a copy of that one as well as this one!

  7. DoingDewey

    I picked this up on netgalley and haven’t read it yet, but I can’t wait to. I loved both the original play and 10 Things I Hate About You, so I can’t say no to another retelling 🙂

Talk to me, Bookworms!

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