City of Girls by Elizabeth Gilbert

City of Girls

"Life is both fleeting and dangerous, and there is no point in denying yourself pleasure, or being anything other than what you are."Beloved author Elizabeth Gilbert returns to fiction with a unique love story set in the New York City theater world during the 1940s. Told from the perspective of an older woman as she looks back on her youth with both pleasure and regret (but mostly pleasure), City of Girls explores themes of female sexuality and p...

Details City of Girls

TitleCity of Girls
Release DateApr 7th, 2020
PublisherRiverhead Books
GenreHistorical, Historical Fiction, Fiction, Audiobook, Adult, Adult Fiction, Romance, Book Club, Contemporary, New York

Reviews City of Girls

  • Elyse Walters
    I just finish this book seconds ago - still soaking in the pool...,I can fully understand a wide range of reviews but truthfully I absolutely loved it.I still have tears in my eyes. I found the ending very moving....It was often an Audiobook HOOT! But also something much deeper...Vivian Morris is a women I’ll remember. Review to come soon: I’m Back.....UPDATE.....Audiobook....narrated by Blair Brown - FABULOUS READER!!! Kudos to Blair Brown!!...
  • Ron Charles
    Gilbert’s narrator is an old woman named Vivian, looking back at herself as a naive 19-year-old who had just failed out of Vassar College. (She ranked 361 in a class of 362, surpassing only a girl who contracted polio.) Baffled by a daughter with no matrimonial or professional prospects, Vivian’s parents send her off to an eccentric aunt who owns a crumbling theater in New York. Light-years from Broadway, Aunt Peg’s Lily Playhouse offers co...
  • Justin Tate
    City of Girls is a genre-bending, uniquely-structured, light-hearted, deeply-profound kind of novel, whatever that means. I'm honestly still in awe of it. The first half has zero conflict and yet never fails to engage. I devoured every moment of being young and careless in 1940's New York, amid showgirls and theater personalities. This glorious fantasy is so enrapturing it doesn't matter if nothing goes wrong. In fact, I prefer it that way. Argua...
  • Nilufer Ozmekik
    Three joyful, glamorous time travelling to 40’s, but travel time was too long stars!!! I really tossed around giving three to four stars, because I enjoyed the writing but not sure about the character development! I really enjoyed some parts so much! Having fun to learn Broadway theater life and scandalous, marvelous but also nasty, controversy backstage life of the show girls!As a narrator, I liked the old self of Vivian, she reminded me of a ...
  • Cecelia
    1) Elizabeth Gilbert has an excellent publicist.2) Have sex and be happy.3) Nothing happens during the first 50%. Then, there is mild drama, followed by more nothingness. And, it ends on a somber note.
  • Umut Rados
    Before I start, I'd like to mention a few things Elizabeth Gilbert wrote at the beginning of the book, which attracted me to it, and also explains the book very well. She says:"I've longed to write a novel about promiscuous girls whose lives are not destroyed by their sexual desires" , then she introduces Vivian Morris, who's our narrator and the main character of this book. And Gilbert says: "My goal was to write a book that would go down like a...
  •  Teodora
    *desperately searches for the feather boa and the good champagne glass*UPDATE:Maybe I was too drunk on the sparkling water I drank from the champagne glass, but I actually got a bit lost in the story to the point when it kind of got boring. But I don't categorize it as a bad read. It was very open-minded and well-documented. Thank you, NetGalley and the publisher for providing me with a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review!
  • Julie
    City of Girls by Elizabeth Gilbert is a 2019 Riverhead publication. This work of historical fiction spans several decades and follows the life of Vivian Morris. During the 1940’s Vivian threw away a golden opportunity at Vassar College, which prompted her parents to send her to New York to live with her eccentric Aunt Peg. Aunt Peg owns a midtown theater and soon Vivian becomes enthralled with the thrill of live performances. She quickly strike...
  • marilyn
    Ninety five year old Vivian is telling her life story. She says she is good at two things in life and that's sex and sewing but another thing she excels at is focusing on Vivian. In the first twenty years of her life, the fact that there were other people out there, people who didn't have servants following them around, catering to their every need, never occurred to Vivian. She didn't even know she was rich, she thought everyone was as well off ...
  • jessica
    okay, first i want to say that if i sent someone a letter asking ‘what were you to my father?’ and they responded with a 450+ page answer, i would literally roll my eyes so hard, they would probably get permanently stuck. but seriously, how in the world did elizabeth gilbert think that writing this narrative as a letter made any sense!?!? especially when its only in the last 80 pages that the MC even begins to answer the original question! i ...
    Thank you to Riverhead Books / Penguin Publishing Group for providing an advance reader copy via Edelweiss.It's 1940 and nineteen year old Vivian Morris is a Vassar College dropout. In the summer of that year, Vivian's parents sent her packing to New York City to stay with her Aunt Peg. Peg owned a dilapidated theater company called the Lily Playhouse which churned out revues sporting former burlesque dancers transformed into showgirls, with most...
  • ✨ jamieson ✨
    elizabeth gilbert has definitely read The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo and it showsrtc maybe elizabeth gilbert has definitely read The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo and it showsrtc maybe
  • Hannah Greendale
    Vivian Morris is an elderly woman recounting the days of her youth in this frolic through 1940's New York. She's a nineteen-year-old virgin when she journeys to the city to live in her Aunt Peg's crumbling theater, the Lily Playhouse. Hers is a tale of late-night carousing and rambunctious sexual exploration, followed by war, maturation, and the mundane trivialities of becoming an adult. In the preview to this Advanced Uncorrected Proof, Gilbert ...
  • Gabby
    DNF @ 230 pages I am really sad that I didn't end up loving this one. I really thought I would love it because of all the comparisons to Evelyn Hugo and the New York setting, but this book was honestly boring me to death. Historical fiction is always a hit or miss for me, and this one was unfortunately a miss. I DNF'ed it after a little more than halfway through because I realized I just don't care, and the main character was annoying the shit ou...
  • Stephanie Nicholas
    Well! This was a rip roaring, light, keen read! I'm so glad I didn't miss it!Vivian Morris recounts her days living in New York City during her coming of age years. To say too much about the story would only spoil it, and I certainly don't want to do that. This book has been criticized as having "too much sex" in it, and even being " vulgar." Pahleease! It's a fun ride during the early 1940's, and it's honest but not lewd in any way. I loved the ...
  • Betsy
    3 stars--It's okay, but I had some issues with it. The basic premise is that Vivian, the 89-year-old narrator, is telling her life story to someone named Angela in the form of a letter. I did love the level of historical detail included in this (mostly) WWII-era novel. Although "The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel" took place a bit later, I vividly pictured the characters running around a New York that looked something like it did in that TV show.I appreci...
  • Gwyn
    This book was a mishmash of 2 different stories thrown together. Three quarters of the book was Vivian experiencing New York in her late teens and early twenties pre and during WW2. The rest of the book jumped ahead 15 to 20 years where someone she had only met once re-enters her life. Then the tone and story of the book totally changed and doesn’t match the writing style in the first part of the book. The final chapter then jumps about 25 year...
  • Beth
    City of Girls started as a 5 star read. 2/3 in it fell to 3 stars. By the end I settled on 2 stars. The story is not fluid, nor does it make much sense. In 1940's New York City theater district, the play 'City of Girls' is gaining momentum. 'City of Girls' is an off-Broadway play written and executed by a Hollywood writer once married to the Lily Playhouse's owner, Aunt Peg. Aunt Peg is a New Yorker through and through. Her 19-year-old niece Vivi...
  • Anne Bogel
    This story hooked me from the opening line. I thought this was SO MUCH FUN, and adored the narrative voice, which is quite different from Gilbert's previous works.
  • Cathrine ☯️
    4 👩🏾‍🦱 👩‍🦳 👩🏽 👩🏻S E X Early reviews I read noted there was a lot of it in these pages. It’s right up there with politics and religion at the dinner table in polite conversation. There are girls and women still schooled in the ‘you’re not supposed to initiate, enjoy, or have too much of it’ belief.Elizabeth Gilbert is not one of them so she writes about it and other topics like satisfaction vs happiness, frie...
  • Amy
    I INHALED this book! It's an absolutely gorgeous novel about a woman figuring her life out before, during, and after WW2. It manages to be a fun, fast read, while also grappling with big messy issues like shame, grief, and how we live with our choices and mistakes. Read it!
  • Roman Clodia
    This definitely feels like a book of two halves: the first is a glorious rush of youthful hedonism, and is just so *joyous*. The characters leap off the page and the boho background of a slightly ramshackle neighbourhood theatre is rendered with loving detail from the stunning showgirls to the quiet songwriter, the English star who can't return to London during the Blitz to the Hollywood writer who creates the surprising mega-hit musical ' City o...
  • Bianca
    Oh, to think that had it not been for the library e-audiobook, I wouldn't have read this delightful novel. The fact that it was yet another "girl" book and that the reviews were quite mixed made me think I shouldn't bother.Well, I'm so happy I gave it a go. Again, a million thanks to my wonderful library.City of Girls is a masterclass in voice. It was like nothing I've read before. Blair Brown's delivery was stupendous, I can't emphasise that eno...
  • Ceecee
    I love this book! Vivian Morris, 20, is banished to New York in disappointment by her parents after being sent down from Vasser after failing to attend a single class. She’s to live with her Aunt Peg who owns the Lily Theatre Company which performs something like revues with showgirls and dancers. Oh boy, does Vivvie have her eyes opened as she’s introduced to a hedonistic world by the showgirls, especially Celia. The story is told from 1940 ...
  • Katherine
    Imagine writing a letter to one of your Father’s old friends, asking a question about how they knew your parent. And now imagine they write you back in the form of a nearly 500 page letter mostly detailing their vast sexual history. They finally answer your question within the final act, when your parent randomly becomes relevant to the story. That is my synopsis of City of Girls, or as I’d prefer to call it: “Weird Flex but OK: The Novel...
  • Dennis
    I wanted to like this book soooooooooooooooooooo badly! While I've never read Eat, Pray, Love or any of Elizabeth Gilbert's previous works, but City of Girls was getting so much buzz that I just HAD to read it. While the writing was great—Elizabeth Gilbert really knows how to craft a story—I just couldn't connect with the narrative. Sadly, I was bored for a majority of the story and I couldn't wait for it to end. If City of Girls coul...
  • Carol (Bookaria)
    "Never has it felt more important for me to tell stories of joy and abandon, passion and recklessness. Life is short and difficult, people. We must take our pleasures where we can find them. Let us not become so cautious that we forget to live.” Captivating, dazzling, and memorable. I loved this book!The novel revolves around Vivian Morris as she narrates the story of her life. We follow her as she moves to New York City to live with her bold A...
  • Julie Ehlers
    Besides Good Talk, City of Girls may have been my most-anticipated 2019 release. Elizabeth Gilbert's abundant fiction skills employed in service of a fluffy tale of a Vassar dropout finding her way in the big city? Sounds like a perfect summer read! And it was! This tale of well-brought-up Vivian Morris finding herself amid a ragtag theatre crowd in 1940s Manhattan was fun and funny and just scandalous enough to keep me reading. Given that this n...
  • Kristina Libby
    Just finished this book in a marathon reading session on the beach. It was vibrant and deep and complicated and lovely. Time well spent and something any Liz Gilbert fan will enjoy. For that matter, something that those who are not her fans will enjoy as well if they are people who love New York City, love life or simply love a well-crafted tale.