Today’s review is on the most recent title of the Hogarth Shakespeare series. It’s Vinegar Girl, by Anne Tyer, out today!
Buy this book from Book Depository
I first heard about this book from a bookansquills video (are you starting to see a pattern here?). I never read Shakespeare before because, honestly, I’m terrified to do so. The old english scares me to death. So, I thought that reading this retelling would be a good place to start! Plus, this book has the most beautiful covers and I couldn’t resist them at all!!! I just saw photos of the hardcover and WOW! Peonies are my favourite flower so I can be biased. Fortunately, the arc was available on NetGalley and me lucky enough to be accepted for it!
This book is inspired by The Taming of the Shrew. The story itself follows Kate Battista, a woman in her late 20’s, mildly contempt with her job as a pre-school assistant and her home life, taking care of the house, of her father, a scientist, and her light-headed teen sister. But then, her father’s assistant, Pyotr, is about to get deported and Kate is asked if she’s interested in a fake wedding.
Reading this was a very different experience from the ones I’m used to. I don’t read contemporary that much and, when I do, they’re usually YA. Well, this is an adult book so the struggles of the main character were very different from the ones I’ve read before, more, you know, adult. Like, is she a fulfilled woman? Would she be single forever? Will she even like to get married in the first place? In the beginning, it was kinda hard to get used to that kind of story but after a while, it became really fun. And thought provoking, since I couldn’t help but put myself in Kate’s feet and try to figure out what I would do if I was in her position.
Kate is an amazing character. She’s really funny and quirky. I mean, the whole story and characters are like that but I found her so awesome. The way she tells the story is incredibly entertaining. Anne Tyler has amazing characters in this book but I can’t help but to highlight Kate.
I was really loving this book. Until the very last chapter, before the epilogue… When there’s this big speech about how hard it is for men to have to hide their feelings all the time… I don’t understood that, at all. I even re-read the last chapter to see if I could comprehend why that was there. Still nothing. Either I’m really misreading the whole thing or that’s just a really dumb way to finish off a book. It really left a bad taste in my mouth. Because until that point, I thought that this was a book about women. How a modern, first world woman would react to an arranged marriage. How a woman lived her life during her prime adult years. It felt really out of place. Finishing a book emphasising men’s “struggles” (don’t even get me started on that), seemed preposterous and a shot in the foot. This influenced heavily my rating and opinion on the whole book.
But, even with that said, I found this title a really great read. So much fun! I have no way how to compare it with the original work, from Shakespeare, since I have not read it, but, from my point of view, I think this book really stands on its own. I would definitely recommend this book, specially to women, young and old. And I would love to hear everyone’s thoughts on that ending, of course.
If anyone has read this already, let me know your thoughts on it, please!
See you guys soon,