Posted in 5 Stars, Book Review

REVIEW: Vinegar Girl by Anne Tyler


Genre: Women’s Fiction, Retellings, Literary Humor
Publisher: Hogarth
Publication Date: June 21, 2016
Formats Available: Kindle, Hardcover, Paperback, Audible

Kate Battista feels 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 preschool charges adore her, but their parents 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, all would be lost. 

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 bring her around? 

MY RATING: 📚 📚 📚 📚 📚

I grabbed this up as soon as I realized this was a modern retelling of Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew. Given that I love Shakespeare, and also that one of my all-time favorite movies is 10 Things I Hate About You, I couldn’t wait to dig in.

Worried though I was that my expectations for this book were too high, I took the plunge. I’m so glad I did. Anne Tyler’s rendition of this Shakespearean classic pays homage to the original tale with a twist of creativity. Some may criticize this short read for being too simplistic in comparison with the original play, but I actually appreciated how Tyler presented us with the essence of The Taming of the Shrew, rather than creating a turn-for-turn rehashing.

I love this version of Kate, which I couldn’t help but associate with Julia Stiles’ amazing performance as Kat Stratford. For Parks and Recreation fans, she’s rather like April Ludgate. Her dry wit and constant state of being unimpressed completely won me over. The other characters likewise were loveable. The father in particular I found amusing, despite his craziness.

I can’t wait to read some of the other installments in the Hogarth Shakespeare series, and I will most definitely be checking out more of Anne Tyler’s titles. I recommend this book for everyone who appreciates modernizations, Shakespeare, and just the right amount of whimsy.

I received a complimentary copy from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.



Olivia Ard is the author of women's fiction trilogy The Bennett Series and Readers' Favorite 5-Star recipient 'Tis the Season. She is pursuing a second degree in sociology. She and her husband JD live in Central Alabama, where they await their miracle baby's arrival this November with joyful expectation.

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