A Pragmatic Love Story — Vinegar Girl Book Review

Sometimes the Wednesday Word relates to something I’ve been thinking about. Sometimes it fits well with a recent experience. But this week, it fits me to a T.

practically speaking
When I looked up pragmatic, I thought any of the definitions could describe me. I tend to be logical, realistic, and practical. I consider myself to be down-to-earth, matter-of-fact, and have my feet on the ground. I try to be commonsensical, often am businesslike even when I don’t mean to be, and try to be sensible. 

According to this website, people with a pragmatic personality “love efficiency, hate wasting time, [and] will make decisions quickly.” I can’t say that’s not true about me. On the other hand, I don’t mind distancing myself from many of the antonyms of pragmatic–who wants to be impractical or unrealistic? But being more idealistic or visionary might not be such a bad thing.

“Pragmatic” also is a good descriptor for Vinegar Girl by Anne Tyler, my most recent selection from Blogging for Books.

Click on the image to see on an Amazon via my affiliate link.

If you’ve heard about this book, you probably know that it’s a “retelling” of Shakespeare’s Taming of The Shrew. If you’ve read more Shakespeare than I have, you may find it interesting to study the similarities and differences between the stories. While I found the book to be an enjoyable, quick read, I was hoping for more from the story line.

In this version, the “shrew” is Kate, an adult woman living at home with her widowed father and 15 year-old sister. Her father is a struggling scientist with a crisis on his hand:his research assistant, Pyotr, is about to be deported … unless he can get married and obtain a Green Card that way. At first, Kate has no interest in taking part in this pragmatic scheme, but when her father persists, she reluctantly goes along with his plan. 

I had a hard time remembering that this story is supposed to be taking place in current times. Maybe it was Kate’s inner dialog that sounded so dated–the stilted vocabulary, pervasive self-doubt, and occasional righteous indignation. Maybe it was her wardrobe–I think she wore “Levis” to work at the preschool! It could be a characteristic of a “retelling,” but I got the impression that if only a few details were changed this story could have taken place a century or two ago. 

I forgave sudden plot twists and unexplained changes of heart because I assumed they were needed to follow the basic plot of the original story, but I wish there was more to this story. I wanted to know more about what Pyotr thought about all this. I wanted to know more about how Kate’s father coped with the reality of what he set in motion. I wanted to know how Kate’s sister reacted when her father hired a maid to keep an eye on her. I wanted to see how Kate and Pytor’s relationship crossed the line from pragmatic to romantic–if it ever did.

I chose this book to review from Blogging for Books because I like Anne Tyler. This wasn’t my favorite of her books, but it was an interesting take on a plot that dates back to the late 1500s.


Today’s Wednesday Word is pragmatic

Deb Runs

Are you more pragmatic or idealistic?

Have you read Vinegar Girl or The Taming of the Shrew?

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22 Responses to A Pragmatic Love Story — Vinegar Girl Book Review

  1. Carla says:

    Im not pragmatic.
    Im gonna check it out ๐Ÿ˜‰
    Carla recently posted…4 HUGE differences between goals and dreams.My Profile

  2. What an odd title for the book. I find myself to be a little of both. I do hate waste time but then again I don’t make decisions on the fly. I give much thought to even the simplest things, (which can be problematic)..lol

  3. I”m so grateful for your review. As a pragmatic kind of gal, I hate to waste time reading a book that is less than satisfying. I too love Anne Tyler, but I was reluctant to pick this one up. Now even more so…
    Wendy@Taking the Long Way Home recently posted…A Runner’s Gotta Do…My Profile

  4. Karen says:

    I am guess I am pragmatic, certainly realistic is me, and I like to get things without making them more difficult…I am never sure about traits though, depends on the situation sometimes.
    Thanks for the review, I don’t read often so I try to read things the majority gave a thumbs up ๐Ÿ™‚
    Karen recently posted…How One Week Bleeds to AnotherMy Profile

  5. Always appreciate a nice honest review! I have not read any of her books yet.
    Deborah @ Confessions of a mother runner recently posted…Hagerstown Sprint Triathlon- Lessons LearnedMy Profile

  6. HoHo Runs says:

    I would consider myself very logical and sensible, but not always pragmatic in every situation. To me, the word seems to connote a rigidity that I don’t think I have. Thanks for the honest book review.

  7. Thanks your sharing! My friend gets used to introduce this book for me, but i forget…TITTLE…^^ I think through your review, i will try finding to read.

  8. Anne says:

    I’ve got this book on my Kindle, waiting for me to finish my current read. I’m a Tyler and a Shakespeare fan, and I love how current authors are reimagining some of his work. It’s definitely on deck for our road trip in a couple of weeks!

  9. I have never read any of her books. Thanks for the review.
    Karen @ Fit in France recently posted…Can pragmatism be taken too far ?My Profile

  10. I had not heard of this book…then again, the majority of my reading these days is via computer screens (blogs) or Runner’s World. I miss the good old days when there was another Harry Potter book to look forward to…. ๐Ÿ˜‰
    Kimberly Hatting recently posted…Calling Myself an Ultra-MarathonerMy Profile

  11. Thanks for your review! Sounds like a decent one.
    Rachel @ RachelMcMichael.com recently posted…Perspective is Everything!My Profile

  12. I read the Taming of the Shrew in high school and I remember enjoying it, although I read it on my own so I don’t think I really got all the takeaways haha

  13. Odd title- I don’t think I have read any of her books- I will be sure to skip this one- I too like more details ๐Ÿ™‚
    Mary Beth Jackson recently posted…Come ZOOMA with ME! Cape Cod is on!My Profile

  14. Shawna says:

    I’m a huge Shakespeare fan and love modern-day retellings of his plays as well, so this prob is right up my alley. My favorite movie as a teen was 10 Things I Hate About You, which is also based on Taming of the Shrew, and I wrote a research paper on Shakespeare’s themes being used in modern stories that was so much fun to write. I’ll have to look this up!

  15. I’m a little of both, but weighing heavily toward pragmatic. Thanks for the book review!

    Thanks for linking up, Coco!
    Debbie @ Deb Runs recently posted…The End Of A Very Special EraMy Profile

  16. I read this through Blogging for Books too. I was really disappointed. I felt like they just sort of dove right in & assumed people would forgive gross oversights by the author. I was glad to finish this one actually.

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