Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Review: Vinegar Girl by Anne Tyler



Review: Vinegar Girl
Anne Tyler
Hogarth
2016

Vinegar Girl adds to the list of Shakespeare’s plays retold for current Western audiences that Hogarth has produced.  A time line for this project can be found here.  http://crownpublishing.com/hogarth-shakespeare/

Vinegar Girl: A NovelAnne Tyler has tackled The Taming of the Shrew.  That Shakespearian comedy has come under rather severe criticism recently for the portrayal of “taming” in ways that are not at all considered amusing by many women in today’s marketplace.  Given that sentiment Tyler had to blaze a trail that departs significantly from the one Shakespeare trod. Not an easy task since much of the original depends outrageous situations and dialogues, and a setup that takes advantage of a man who could be understood by today’s reader as an individual trapped in an addictive behavior needing help, not ridicule.

I’ll probably be a minority opinion, but I think that this book failed, and not from the lack of writing skill.  Tyler’s skills are well known.  For me, this represents a taming of the original work to the point that it becomes little more than a contrived beach read romance.  Sorry.  As you can tell, it’s not one that I can recommend.  The back cover gives the basic story line and is available to read from the online sources now.  The book itself is scheduled for release later this year.

Vinegar Girl did make me wonder what the others in the series have to offer. To date I find three titles have been published and I plan to take a look at them.  If nothing else, it’ll mean I have to read some Shakespeare.  How bad can that be?  Maybe the originals have endured for reasons other than representing cultural norms.  I’m not the one to decide that.

I received this book from the publisher in return for a review.


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