Book Review: The Taming Of The Shrew retelling Vinegar Girl could use more of the original’s bite

Anne Tyler’s Vinegar Girl is a retelling of Shakespeare’s The Taming Of The Shrew, the latest in the Hogarth Shakespeare series in which contemporary novelists adapt the Bard’s plays for a 21st century audience. So it’s likely you already know the basic plot of the book—whether from reading the original play or seeing the musical Kiss Me Kate or watching the movie 10 Things I Hate About You. But a familiarity with the source material, even if gained in other modern adaptations, doesn’t dismiss the pleasure of reading this one.

Kate Battista lives in Baltimore with her scientist father and 15-year-old sister. She assists at a nursery school and helps her father run their household and has a mild crush on a co-worker but feels vaguely dissatisfied with her life, chafing at the social conventions she’s bound by. Enter Pyotr Cherbakov, her father …

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