Instaread Summary of Vinegar Girl by Anne Tyler
Five out of five stars
While it seems unlikely that any modern author could improve on a play by Shakespeare, there is no harm in trying and there is the potential for some interesting plot twists when they try. It is stated in the summary that the book is a retelling of “The Taming of the Shrew,” resetting it in the context of the complexities of modern families with the changes in gender roles. After reading this summary, if I had not been told that it is a retelling of the Shakespearean play, I doubt if I would have figured it out.
The summary is concise and understandable and there is mention of male and female stereotypes being undermined by the behavior of the characters. The basic premise is that Kate is the daughter of a renowned scientist and Pyotr, his longtime lab assistant is about to be deported. Kate’s father comes up with the idea of Kate and Pyotr engaging in a sham marriage so that Pyotr can stay in the country. Kate agrees, partly out of loyalty to her father, but also because her life is generally a consistent bore. Yet, despite the problems in the way in which the relationship began, there is a “happily ever after” conclusion.
Did this summary convince me that this is a worthy retelling of one of the classic Shakespearean plays? No, not even close. However, I was intrigued enough to have some interest in reading the book. The plot and characters appear to be quirky enough to make the book interesting.
This book was made available for free for review purposes.