Book Club Mini-Reviews: The Namesake & Vinegar Girl

book club

I read both of these for book club over the summer, but realized I never posted about them, even though I had a few things to say about each. I borrowed The Namesake from my local library, and listened to Vinegar Girl via my TuneIn Radio subscription.

The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri

Oh Lahiri, can you do any wrong? I’ve honestly loved everything she’s written, and The Namesake didn’t disappoint. This is a tender and quietly powerful first-generation immigrant story that relays the heavy, sometimes overwhelming, burden that comes with family obligations, expectations, and one’s legacy. Truly a beautiful novel, both in the exploration of its themes and Lahiri’s writing style.

Vinegar Girl by Anne Tyler

Apparently this a modern retelling of Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew, which Anne Tyler hates, and why she chose to rewrite it through Vinegar Girl. But there really wasn’t much to go on, you know? I can see why she hates it—it’s a terrible premise! The pressure to get married, to have kids…throw in some outdated assumptions about “foreigners.” It doesn’t help that I listened to the audiobook and didn’t like the narrator, who made me cringe with her overly-affected interpretations of Bunny and Pyotr. This was a light read (it’d be good for a trip to the beach) but the characters were too one-dimensional for my taste. I wish this hadn’t been my first Anne Tyler book. If you have any suggestions for one I should read, let me know!

  • I’ve read some great immigrant stories this year and am finding that topic really intriguing…will have to try The Namesake!

  • I think the only good version of The Taming of the Shrew is probably the movie 10 Things I Hate About You 😉

  • I’ve read some of Lahiri’s short stories and loved them. I really need to pick up her other books.