I just finished Anne Tyler's newest work Vinegar Girl. This was a somewhat strange, unique read, loosely based on Shakespeare's Taming of the Shrew.
Kate Battista and her family eat meat-mash for dinner every night. A pureed mixture of meet and vegetables. It provides the optimal nutrients to survive, but not much pleasure of spice. And such is Kate's life, survival. She takes care of her scatter-brained scientist father and generally unpleasant air-headed sister. Kate does the laundry and taxes and well, just about everything practical. She feels absolutely stuck in all directions. Nearing thirty and working at a preschool where she is constantly in trouble, she doesn't see much in her future.
Her father, on the other hand, has formulated a big plan for her future. Feeling oh-so-close to a breakthrough he is desperate to keep his lab assistant from being deported. Kate seems like the perfect solution to his little problem. Kate, however, is not so willy to marry a stranger.
I found myself marveling at how connected I felt to this book. Which was odd, because I didn't feel a strong affection for any of the characters. They were all very interesting, but none of them particularly likable. Instead, what I immediately connected with was Anne Tyler's writing style. I felt myself trailing along, vividly imagining each place, each character. The descriptions of the characters appearance and manner especially, where so clear in my mind. They all felt like people I had met before- but not people I have read about before, making them especially unique.
The Taming of the Shrew has been a controversial play, but I thought Anne did and excellent job staying true to Shakespeare but true to herself as well. I found myself reveling in the witty humor of some passages and contemplating the depth of others. It wasn't my favorite book, but it made for a fun, quirky, clever summer read.
I received this book in exchange for my honest review.