Vinegar Girl [Hogarth Shakespeare] by Anne Tyler [in Library Journal]
The third installment of the Hogarth Shakespeare series transfers the 16th-century comedy The Taming of the Shew, set in Padua, Italy, to a contemporary Baltimore neighborhood, otherwise known as beloved Pulitzer-Prized Anne Tyler-territory. The Bard’s obdurate, would-be lovers Katherina and Petruchio become Kate Battista, a temperamental, small children-averse preschool assistant on probation, and Pyotr Shcherbakov, the much-favored brilliant lab assistant of Kate’s autoimmune disorder-fighting scientist father.
As independent as Kate believes herself to be, she feels plenty put upon taking care of her absent-minded dad and her sought-after younger sister (Shakespeare’s Bianca morphs into popular high schooler Bunny). When Kate discovers that Dr. Battista’s plans to keep Pyotr employed beyond his three-year visa specifically include her…well, the shrew’s taming is about to ensue.
While Tyler clearly draws on the centuries-old original, her updated version could easily stand alone as an entertainingly eccentric family love story. Popular reader Kirsten Potter narrates with her usual energy, although the indeterminable accent she bestows on Pyotr feels unnecessarily heavy, even contrived. Quibble aside, Tyler groupies will appreciate access to multiple formats to enjoy new work from a favorite author.