Oh this book was a delight. I had my eye on it but hadn’t got around to reading it until my coworker highly praised it; and I’m so glad I read it! Vinegar Girl is perfection. Kate’s father wants her to marry his foreign research assistant so he will not be deported. Kate is headstrong, intelligent, and witty, but can be brash, especially in her job as a preschool teacher assistant. Kate and her sister Bunny lost their mother young and Kate has played the matriarchal role for many years. Their father is completely absorbed in his research but is still a loving father, if distant at times. Boring as it may sound, I LOVED the routine and systems the Battista’s have, with their weekly meat mash and dishwashing method.
Anne Tyler is a storytelling mastermind. The premise of the story seems so harsh and outdated, but it’s such a lighthearted, feel good novel. The epilogue was my favorite part, but I loved the passage on page 202 when Pyotr explains to Kate his frustration with the English language- “There is no special word for ‘you’ when it is you that I am speaking to. In English there is only one ‘you,’ and I have to say the same ‘you’ to you that I would say to a stranger; I cannot express my closeness. I am homesick in this country, but I am thinking I would be homesick in my own country now, also….there is no place for me. So I have to pretend I am fine here.” This novel is beautifully written-a masterpiece of a story with strong willed characters that mesh together exquisitely in an unconventional way.
I highly recommend Vinegar Girl!