Vinegar Girl by Anne Tyler: A Book Review

William Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew retold as Vinegar Girl by Anne Tyler, Pulitzer Prize winner and New York Times bestseller

Anne Tyler’s retelling of The Taming of the Shrew asks whether a thoroughly modern, independent woman like Kate would ever sacrifice herself for a man. Its answer is as individual, offbeat, and funny as Kate herself.

Kate Battista feels stuck. How did she end up running house and home for her eccentric scientist father and her uppity, pretty younger sister, Bunny? Plus, she’s always in trouble at work—her preschool charges adore her, but their parents don’t always appreciate her unusual opinions and forthright manner.

Dr. Battista has his own problems. After years in the academic wilderness, he is on the verge of a breakthrough. His research could help millions. There’s only one problem: his brilliant young lab assistant, Pyotr, is about to be deported. And without Pyotr, Dr. Battista’s work may not ever be realized.

When Dr. Battista cooks up an outrageous plan that will enable Pyotr to stay in the country, he’s relying—as usual—on Kate to help him. Kate is furious: this time he’s really asking too much. Will she be able to resist the two men’s touchingly ludicrous campaign to bring her around?

My Review: I’m shamefaced to say that I have not read much Shakespeare in my life, save for required high school reading. I’ve always thought the stories were neat, but the Shakespearean language although really cool, can be somewhat confusing for recreational reading. That’s why I was excited for the chance to review Vinegar Girl. A modern retelling of The Taming of the Shrew, Vinegar Girl is a fast-paced, light, enjoyable read.

There are several things I love to see happen when I read a book. One is that I feel immediately invested in the story and/or characters. Another is the speed in which I finish a book. I could not believe how quickly I was reading through this book! I believe the adage “Time flies when  you’re having fun.” applies when reading a book. Another thing I love is when I finish a book and I’m immediately checking to see what other books are available by that author or in that series. All of these things happened during the reading process of this book!

I definitely enjoyed reading Anne Tyler’s interpretation of The Taming of the Shrew. It makes me want to 1. Actually read Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew (I don’t recall that one in high school) 2. Read more works by Anne Tyler. (I’ve never read anything else by her) And 3. Read more of Shakespeare’s works retold by novelists in the Hogarth Shakespeare project.

Vinegar Girl is a great read and the characters are quirky, fun and full of personality. I highly recommend this book.

*I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.


ANNE TYLER was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota, in 1941 and grew up in Raleigh, North Carolina. This is her twentieth novel; her eleventh, Breathing Lessons, was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in 1988. She is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters. She lives in Baltimore, Maryland.



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