Review: Vinegar Girl by Anne Tyler


Vinegar Girl
is the forth novel that I have read in the Hograth Shakespeare series and it is the best yet. A modern day retelling of The Taming of the Shrew, author Anne Tyler takes us to contemporary America. Kate Battista spends her days working at a job that she hates and is ill-suited to, and her evenings being a sort-of live in housekeeper for her eccentric scientist father and her bratty teenage sister. With no friends and no relationship prospects she drifts through life feeling unappreciated. Then, suddenly, her father has a strange proposal. He wants her to marry his Russian lab assistant Pyotr, so that he can stay in the country. And then Pyotr begins a charming and eccentric campaign to win the bitter Kate's heart ...

This was an entertaining social comedy served with a lot of heart. Kate is as bitter as bitter can be, but from the moment that the blunt but always well meaning Pyotr appears on the page, it is obvious that the pair are a perfect match--even if their relationship doesn't really develop under normal circumstances. The author has a lot to say about the pressures that men often have placed on them to not express their feelings or concerns. On a similar note, there is a moral to the story that just because some people don't discuss or express their feelings in a way that is deemed socially acceptable does not mean that those feelings do not exist. Bunny provides an interesting contrast to the bitter Kate, but it is Pyotr who truly steals every scene he is in. 

Short enough to be read in one of two sittings, this one is a lot of fun and very entertaining. 

Highly recommended. 

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