Vinegar Girl is a novel written by Anne Tyler, inspired by William Shakespeare’s play “The Taming of the Shrew”. It was published in 2016 and has garnered both critical acclaim and commercial success.

The Story

The novel follows the life of Kate Battista, a young woman who is often underestimated and overlooked by those around her. She works as a preschool teacher and also takes care of her eccentric scientist father, Dr. Louis Battista, and her younger sister, Bunny, who is more interested in partying than pursuing a career.

Kate’s seemingly ordinary life takes a turn when her father proposes a plan to marry her off to his research assistant, Pyotr Cherbakov, who is on the brink of being deported. Driven by her love for her father and her desire to support him, Kate reluctantly agrees to go along with the arrangement.

As Kate begins to spend more time with Pyotr, she discovers that there is more to him than meets the eye. The two develop a unique bond as they navigate cultural differences, misunderstandings, and societal expectations.

Awards and Recognition

Vinegar Girl received positive reviews from critics and readers alike. It was named one of the best books of 2016 by The New York Times Book Review and was a finalist for the Kirkus Prize in Fiction.

Anne Tyler’s skillful adaptation of Shakespeare’s classic play and her ability to create relatable characters earned her praise for her insightful storytelling and engaging prose.

Important Characters

Kate Battista

Kate is the protagonist of the story. She is independent, strong-willed, and often underestimated by those around her. Throughout the novel, Kate undergoes personal growth as she navigates societal expectations and discovers her own desires and aspirations.

Dr. Louis Battista

Dr. Louis Battista is Kate’s father and a brilliant scientist. He is eccentric and focused on his research. Driven by a desire to keep his research assistant, Pyotr, in the country, he hatches a plan to arrange a marriage between Kate and Pyotr.

Pyotr Cherbakov

Pyotr Cherbakov is Dr. Battista’s research assistant and a potential love interest for Kate. He is portrayed as intelligent, kind, and having a deep appreciation for Kate’s unique qualities. Pyotr’s experiences as an immigrant from Russia provide a contrast to Kate’s life and add depth to their relationship.


Vinegar Girl is a captivating novel that explores themes of love, identity, and the struggle to find one’s place in society. Anne Tyler’s skillful adaptation of Shakespeare’s play and the compelling characters she creates make this book a must-read for anyone interested in literature and storytelling.

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