Book Review - Vinegar Girl


Vinegar Girl* - Anne Tyler
"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?"

What first caught my eye about this book was how stunningly beautiful the cover is, I have it in ebook format but in paperback the cover is just so pretty and definitely one that you would want to show off on your book shelf.  The second thing than alerted me to this book was how much I had read about it before it was released,  there was so much hype around it and I just knew I wanted to read it.

Vinegar Girl is a modern retelling of Shakespeare's 'The Taming of The Shrew'.  I have, like most people experienced Shakespeare at school and I have to say I have never out of my own choice picked up any more of his work, I don't find his language easy for me to connect to but I do love a lot of his stories which is why I often go a modern retelling hence the nearest that I've ever gotten to The Taming of The Shrew is the movie '10 Things I Hate About You'.

The first thing that I have to note about this story though is that most modern retellings of Shakespeare that I have read have been very heavy on the 'modern' part.  Set in present day and with modern language and situations and the thing that struck me within literally the first few pages was that this book for me was not like that at all.  I understand calling it a modern adaption because it is set nearer to present day than the original but I just felt that the last thing it was, was 'modern'. The situations, the characters, the language were very 'classic' if you know what I mean, it all felt very traditional in the way it was written rather than a contemporary novel.  I never normally choose books written like this as I find it often very difficult to relate and connect with the characters which I have to admit I also felt with this too.

The story is very slow paced and the book is also very short so most of the story unravels midway through the book.  Most of the other retellings of The Taming Of The Shrew that I have read or watched have really put focused on how strong and independent the main female character is and Vinegar Girl is no different in that aspect.  Kate is our heroine in the book and she is very strong and I liked that it stayed true to the original. You can really root for her and you feel that she stays true to who she is and her beliefs as a character.

The best way I would describe this book is to say it is a gentle read.  Its sweet and slow paced and could be read extremely quickly.  It is a nice book and I'm glad I read it and did enjoy it, it won't be a favourite of mine or a standout but sometimes I like just reading a lovely, uncomplicated story and this is exactly what this story was for me.  I really would urge you to pick this up if you like a more classic novel and maybe stay away if you are into more contemporary fiction.

You can buy this book on Wordery and get free delivery too.