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New Release Review! VINEGAR GIRL by Anne Tyler (Hogarth Shakespeare)

Speaking of Shakespeare…


‘You can’t get around Kate Battista as easily as all that’

Kate Battista is feeling stuck. How did she end up running house and home for her eccentric scientist father and uppity, pretty younger sister Bunny? Plus, she’s always in trouble at work – her pre-school charges adore her, but the adults don’t always appreciate her unusual opinions and forthright manner.

Dr Battista has other problems. After years out 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…

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. But will she be able to resist the two men’s touchingly ludicrous campaign to win her round?

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, off-beat and funny as Kate herself.


Enjoyable retelling of The Taming of the Shrew (I mean, it’s not Moonlighting, but then what is?), and a fairly quick read.

I wasn’t all that crazy about Kate, the protagonist, for much of the novel–but then, she’s the “shrew”, so you’re not supposed to be, right? She certainly has the prickly, socially-awkward parts of her role down pat. She definitely grows on you on the story continues, and by the end was mostly likable. I would have liked to have gotten to know Pyotr better (or even just figured out how to pronounce his name), but we see everything from Kate’s point of view until the epilogue.

The epilogue: my favorite part. It had me smiling and even laughing out loud more than the rest of the book combined! It’s from Kate and Pyotr’s son Louie’s point of view, and it wraps up their story far more satisfactorily than anything we got from Kate’s part of the book. It was so much fun to see their relationship eleven years later from his perspective…even if his choice of dinner made me cringe. A lot. But OMG, is he ever their son…

I’ll definitely be looking for more in the Hogarth Shakespeare series!

Rating: 4 stars / B+


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