• Vinegar Girl

  • William Shakespeare's The Taming of the Shrew Retold: A Novel
  • By: Anne Tyler
  • Narrated by: Kirsten Potter
  • Length: 5 hrs and 57 mins
  • 4.1 out of 5 stars (615 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Pulitzer Prize winner and American master Anne Tyler brings us an inspired, witty, and irresistible contemporary take on one of Shakespeare's most beloved comedies.

Kate Battista feels stuck. How did she end up running house and home for her eccentric scientist father and uppity, pretty younger sister, Bunny? Plus, she's always in trouble at work - her preschool charges adore her, but their parents don't always appreciate her unusual opinions and forthright manner.

Dr. Battista has other problems. After years out in the academic wilderness, he is on the verge of a breakthrough. His research could help millions. There's only one problem: His brilliant young lab assistant, Pyotr, is about to be deported. And without Pyotr, all would be lost.

When Dr. Battista cooks up an outrageous plan that will enable Pyotr to stay in the country, he's relying - as usual - on Kate to help him. Kate is furious: This time he's really asking too much. But will she be able to resist the two men's touchingly ludicrous campaign to bring her around?

©2016 Anne Tyler (P)2016 Random House Audio

Critic Reviews

"Everyone loves Anne Tyler." ( San Francisco Chronicle)
"Without Anne Tyler, American fiction would be an immeasurably bleaker place." ( Newsday)
"You are involved before you even notice you were paying attention.... Her feel for character is so keen that even hardened metafictionalists [who] would happily fry the whole notion of 'character' for breakfast are reduced to the role of helpless gossips, swapping avid hunches about the possible fates of the characters." (Tom Shone, The New Yorker)

Featured Article: All the World's a Stage—The Best Shakespeare Plays in Audio


If there’s one writer whose work translates spectacularly to audio format, it’s the Bard. Hearing Shakespeare’s dialog masterfully performed by professionals with the correct emphasis and tone can make all the difference in catching every clever joke and innuendo, picking up on subtle foreshadowing, and sometimes even understanding the plot itself. Here are our choices for the best Shakespeare audiobooks to add to your library today.

What listeners say about Vinegar Girl

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Well worth a listen

Any additional comments?

I bought this audiobook for two reasons; I was curious about what would be done with such a problematical plot in a current setting and I know Anne Tyler as a very good author. I don't usually read Anne Tyler; I have had enough angst and deep sorrow in my own life that I choose to read books that don't put me through it.

If I had had to rate Vinegar Girl in the middle of reading it I would probably have given it 3 stars. There is a lot of family dysfunction and I didn't love the characters. I was pretty uncomfortable; it was not happy reading, but it never reached the point where I thought seriously about not finishing. I am so very glad that I did finish. Anne Tyler really did take The Taming of the Shrew and make it work and beyond that, she made it make sense.

If you know Shakespeare, you know the plot; Tyler certainly deviates from the original; she has to in order for the plot to make any sense in today's world. She does hit the high points of the play but I really had no idea how she would bring it all together at the end, but she does, and it is brilliant. I was completely charmed by her ending.

I want to mention that I also appreciated that she kept the book very tight; it is short as audiobooks go these days, but it was the right length for what she accomplished; there was no filler in it. It is so much harder to skip filler in audiobooks than in print; I have sometimes loved the plot and characters in a book and have just been worn out by all of the extras thrown in. Thank goodness for a disciplined author and for good editors.

Kirsten Potter was brilliant all the way through. I have heard her read before and she is one of the audio narrators who really shines in the profession.

18 people found this helpful

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  • ZH
  • 10-11-16

Hilarous and clever

The narrator did a wonderful job. I found the book witty and quite funny.

5 people found this helpful

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Family quirks and cross-cultural romance!

I laughed out loud at some of the cultural and language clashes in this story, and at Kate's social awkwardness and sweetness. Such a fun story of family dynamics and love!

4 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Too much hype, not enough plot

I kept waiting for the real story to get going.

The excessive descriptions of Kate's behavior got old. We get it, she's a shrew. Move on.

The plot was severely lacking. The epilogue was the best part and should have been extended to improve the overall story.

I get that it was a rebelling of Shakespeare's "The Taming of the Shrew," but this was very disappointing.

You should always walk away with something after reading/listening to a book: a new understanding, a new feeling, a new life lesson, a new interest, etc. I finished this book with nothing new to add to my life.

One good thing I will say - Narrator was great.

4 people found this helpful

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Moderately engaging plot. Performance not so much

This was a predictable plot moderately interesting. Would have been better as a library loan than a purchase.
What really detracted was the performance. The reader was good and consistent however she sounded like she was speaking down a pipe. Hollow and kind of like speaking in a tile bath. I found the performance annoying.

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

An Unexpected Pleasure

Thoroughly enjoyed this audible book. Loved each character and the narrator's wonderfully witty performance! The story was engaging and cleverly written. Can't wait for our Brooklyn discussion.

2 people found this helpful

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I really appreciated this version!

The story is very cute and frustrating, but the characters are lovable. I have recommended this for a fun short read!!

2 people found this helpful

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Do not read

This book is terrible. Literally 10 Things I Hate About You is a better retelling than this book. I don’t know what’s worse, the story or the fake Russian accent in the audio version. This is easily the most ridiculously mundane and tired book I have ever read. How it won a Pulitzer is just beyond me.

1 person found this helpful

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Delightfully funny and entertaining.

What an awesome narrator! Captured two different types of foreign accents and other unique narrative skills.



1 person found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars

Enjoyable but also kind of forgettable

This is a pleasant story of personalities in conflict with a nice resolution. The review of "Taming of the Shrew" meets "Green Card" is accurate. Kate's father is given more backstory as to how this situation ever developed. Kate's speech at the end was very unbelievable because she talked about how all men have to repress their feelings while all women learn how to communicate their feelings. It was a plot point throughout the story that Kate didn't know what she was feeling (except anger and neglect) and definitely didn't know how to express it. However the epilog at the end was a good touch.

1 person found this helpful

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