This is the third book in the Hogarth Shakespeare series – an effort to bring William Shakespeare’s life to work in modern ways. It will be released on June 21, 2016.
Vinegar Girl by Anne Tyler is a modern retelling of The Taming of the Shrew. It focuses on Kate, who is working as an assistant at a preschool and is living at home with her father and sister. Their home life is amusing – Kate’s family relies on her to keep the ship afloat, which she does by leaning on routine and without any zeal or creativity.
Her father is a scientist and has a brilliant research assistant, Pyotr, with an expiring visa. Kate’s father cooks up a scheme to have Kate marry Pyotr to ensure the success of his research, which Kate is disgusted by. Tyler’s way of bringing all of these characters together proves to be such good fun and is hilarious. The dialogue in this book is blunt and comedic, given that Kate’s character is brutally honest and lacks the social niceties that help one get by in the world.
This is not great literature — but if you are looking for a quick summer read that will make you smile and lift your spirits for a bit, then I would press this book into your hands. There is only one caveat that I would share – given that I was a teenager in the late 90s/early 2000s, I absolutely could not picture these characters as anyone other than the actors from 10 Things I Hate About You. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing and is no fault of Tyler’s writing, but something to consider if you want to read this with a fresh perspective.
Now excuse me, I HAVE to go watch 10 Things I Hate About You right.away! Sometimes I wish that I could go back to high school and have the guts to be just like Kat Stratford, instead of the timid little thing that I actually was — but really, I wouldn’t go back to high school for anything in the world. And one of these days I will stop crying over Heath Ledger’s death while watching this movie!