Thursday, June 23, 2016

Review: Vinegar Girl by Anne Tyler

Published June 21st 2016
by Hogarth
Kate Battista has been feeling a little stuck. Stuck in her job at which she seems to be frequently in trouble. Stuck in taking care of her widowed father and her somewhat obnoxious teenage sister. Now Kate is in a bit of a pickle. Her beloved, socially inept father wants her to marry his research assistant so that he can remain in the country. He feels that he is on the verge of a breakthrough and losing Pyotr will set him back.

This is a reworking of The Taming of the Shrew. Instead of multiple suitors, Kate has just the one, Pyotr. And it becomes a question of will Kate be able to resist the clumsy plan of Pyotr and her father to woo her into acceptance and get her to marry Pyotr. Kate isn't as biting as the character in The Taming of the Shrew. Instead she has her own social awkwardness. She seems to feel like she doesn't quite belong at work. And at home, she feels taken advantage of by her sister and father.

Will she marry Pyotr? Will she fall in love with him or would it be in name only?

It's a nice little tale at 240 pages and a good summer read. There is humor in the way that the characters handle things. I found it to be a quick read, the pace gradually increasing until the end. There is a short epilogue at the end, sort of a this is how things worked out in the long run.

I give it 4 stars out of 5 because it's well written. It feels a little awkward at times. There are some surprises as to how the characters acted. Three of the main characters are portrayed as lacking socially, and yet it works. I could almost picture this taking place in mid twentieth century rather than in the 21st. I would recommend this book for people who enjoy retellings of classic literature and enjoy the modern twists that they often involve.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion.