Vinegar Girl

By Anne Tyler

“Hi Kate! We went to get marriage license!

Who’s we?

Your Father and I.

Well I hope you’ll be very happy together.”

I enjoyed this little novel very much. I believe the bitter criticism that it has received is because most of the readers read it because it was an Anne Tyler novel and were quite taken aback by her little foray into chick-lit. I’m not sure what they expected given it is a retelling of The Taming of the Shrew, but I’m pretty confident that romantic comedy fans would like this very well.

“In my country they have proverb: ‘Beware against the sweet person, for sugar has no nutrition.’ ” This was intriguing. Kate said, “Well, in my country they say that you can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.”“Yes, they would,” Pyotr said mysteriously. He had been walking a couple of steps ahead of Kate, but now he dropped back and, without any warning, slung an arm around her shoulders and pulled her close to his side. “But why you would want to catch flies, hah? Answer me that, vinegar girl.”

It is a funny story about family relationships, and a grouchy heroine who might be somewhere “on the spectrum” as they say, who gets forced out of her rut of life and finds her true self and love through no fault of her own. And it is interspersed with little jewels of writing such as

He had the foreigner’s tendency toward bald, obvious compliments, dropping them with a thud at her feet like a cat presenting her with a dead mouse.

And it ends with a dandy epilogue. Love epilogues. I never met an epilogue I didn’t like. My only complaint is that the book was too short.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

April 8, 2019

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