August 2, 2016
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Vinegar Girl

by Anne Tyler

A lovely retelling of The Taming Of The Shrew, in which Kate is an entirely sympathetic, sensible, and straight-talking pre-school teacher who lives with her father, a medical researcher. Dad’s postdoc has a problem: his visa is going to expire in a few weeks and he needs a green card.

What makes this work so well is that it’s not simply interrogating Shakespeare – it reimagines the premise of Shrew and asks how this artificial, comic construct could possibly be real. Kate’s two leading traits, after all, are not at all horrible: she doesn’t care about getting a guy and she doesn’t care much about what other people think. Her little sister cares too much, as little sisters will, and so Kate chides her for excesses of fashion and flirtation, leading (as chiding will) to some moderate family chaos.