Vinegar Girl

imgres-2.jpgReading this new novel by Anne Tyler I couldn’t help but hum those memorable Neil Young lyrics

I could be happy
the rest of my life
With a vinegar girl.

It’s not really The Taming of the Shrew (or even 10 Things I Hate About You) but it does have a similar vibe. Here the scientist father needs to assure the continuing services of a Slavic lab assistant nearing the end of his visa work permit. Perhaps the scientist’s older, somewhat rebellious daughter would marry the guy until the residency requirements are met. Wacky, huh?

Actually Anne Tyler writes a smooth narrative that is engaging and entertaining, but not terribly deep or thought-provoking.

Vinegar Girl comes from the old adage, “You can catch more flies with cinnamon than you can with vinegar.”

Back When We Were Grownups

imgres-1.jpg“I do make a point of writing down every imaginable facet of my characters before I begin a book, trying to get to know them so I can figure out how they’ll react in any situation…..My reason for writing now is to live lives other than my own, and I do that by burrowing deeper and deeper….till I reach the center of those lives.”

This is exactly why I am enchanted by the works of Anne Tyler.

Many years back I was putting my cocker spaniel through intermediate training and the instructor, who raised and trained Rottweilers, lampooned the movie The Accidental Tourist on the basis of what she considered an inaccurate representation of the correct way to train a dog. I filed this observation in the back of my mind and it wasn’t until several months later that I watched the movie and despite it’s obvious smarminess, enjoyed all the quirky characters and even accepted the dog training episodes.

Continue reading