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City of Girls

4.07  ·  Rating details ·  2,517 ratings  ·  521 reviews
From the # 1 New York Times bestselling author of Eat, Pray, Love and The Signature of All Things, a delicious novel of glamour, sex, and adventure, about a young woman discovering that you don't have to be a good girl to be a good person.

Life is both fleeting and dangerous, and there is no point in denying yourself pleasure, or being anything other than what you are.

Hardcover, 432 pages
Published June 4th 2019 by Riverhead
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Katherine It's available now! The holds list is pretty long so it might take a few months before you're actually able to check it out...

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4.07  · 
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 ·  2,517 ratings  ·  521 reviews

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Ron Charles
Jun 03, 2019 rated it liked it
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 cookie-cutter musical comedies written on the fly for work ...more
Jun 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
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 mostly forgettable storylines. The ticket prices were
At 51% I’m done. I loved the voice and the writing but I’m growing very weary of hearing about Vivian’s sexual exploits. I loved the era and the setting. The audiobook narrator was incredible. But it wasn’t enough to save this book for me.

I’m all for women owning their sexuality but by the halfway point I’d like to see some growth and maturity. Promiscuity is not a step forward for women, it’s a step backward.
Vivian is rather a bore and this book is way too long given the subject matter.

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 as her, all their monetary and other needs taken c ...more
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 writes that she wants this book to "go down like a
Umut Reviews
May 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 champagne cocktail- light and bright, crisp and f
Justin Tate
Jun 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
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. Arguably, when the complications do show up, the novel ...more
✨    jamieson   ✨
this sounds .. a lot like evelyn hugo

which means I'm either gonna hate it or love it (??)
Jun 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019
“Life is both fleeting and dangerous, and there is no point in denying yourself pleasure, or being anything other than what you are.”

City of girls is a lifestory of Vivian Morris, a woman in her nineties, told in a letter to a younger woman Angela, whose connection to Vivian we do not discover until almost the end of the book. Vivian came from a well-off family. I really enjoyed the description of Vivian’s year at Vassar where she managed to fail every single class mainly due to a total lack of
Jun 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
Vassar dropout Vivian Morris is sent to live with Aunt Peg, owner of a rundown theatre in New York featuring showgirls in 1940 by her frustrated parents. [And this is supposed to convince Vivian to return to college—seriously?] Thus begins an atmospheric memoir of Vivian Morris’s life story as told to a woman named Angela. Vivian is a complicated woman who lived an unconventional life. She felt she was only really good at two things—sex and sewing.

The closest thing to a traditional plot is the d
Roman Clodia
May 09, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 of Girls'. The writing flows, Vivie is an adorable ...more
Kristina Libby
Jan 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
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.
Oct 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book was everything I could have possibly wanted and more.
Jun 06, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 appreciated Vivian's sense of humor--you know she doesn't
Elyse Walters
Jun 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
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.....

Audiobook....narrated by Blair Brown - FABULOUS READER!!! Kudos to Blair Brown!!!

This is another book that I almost skipped because I
This started out with so much promise - NYC in the 1940's, theater scene, bawdy characters. But, the reminiscence by an elderly Vivian lacked the electric excitement that would have been there if we were living the story along with 19-year old Vivian. The pacing was also odd - long drawn out parts and then the end seemed to rush through to tie up loose ends. I did enjoy the plot, which had many laugh out loud moments and didn't take itself too seriously. The colorful characters and the showbiz b ...more
Jun 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Oh, how I love this book!! Set in the 1940's, City of Girls is the story of Vivian, a college dropout. Vivian is sent to New York City to live with her aunt and help with her struggling theater. Once in New York, Vivian discovers an entirely different life than she was leading. City of Girls is a fabulous, juicy work of historical fiction!
The Artisan Geek
May 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I had so much darn fun reading this book, honestly. Going through Vivian life was riveting, so utterly exciting! Loved it!! A review will up on my channel soon! :D

A sincere thank you to Riverhead Books for this copy of City of Girls!! I started this book off yesterday at the lake and can't wait to finish it! The setting is wonderful and I am having such a wonderful time! :)

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Apr 06, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
I've read several other books by Elizabeth Gilbert and thoroughly enjoyed them, but not this one. At first I thought it amusing, but after awhile all the joie de vivre became boring. I also thought that the book went on too long. It could have been pared down.
Jun 12, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2019
3 stars to this fluffy theater tale

This might make a perfect beach read if you are a fan of New York theater and you are looking for some light reading (but it's too long). Our narrator is Vivian, and as a young, privileged woman she is kicked out of Vassar and her parents ship her off to Aunt Peg in New York. Aunt Peg owns and runs the Lily Playhouse and puts on short plays/musicals for the local neighborhood. Vivian gets completely caught up in the theater life with showgirls, frequent sex, an
May 05, 2019 rated it it was ok
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 years to try to pull it all together.

The character of V
La Petite Américaine
Dec 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I haven't read this yet - it doesn't even come out for another 6 months.

Starting it at 5 stars anyway because it looks bad ass. :)
Jaclyn Crupi
Apr 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
There are criticisms that could be made of this book (length, narrative disruption and weighting, heavy-handed messaging, pacing) but right now I’m enjoying feeling some big feelings, namely joy, wonder and love. Gilbert is an incredible storyteller – pithy, witty, generous, big-hearted. But she’s also someone who has lived many lives and felt the full weight of experience and that comes through in every aspect of this book. If you’re feeling open-hearted and ready to feel some big feelings then ...more
I loved the last novel that Elizabeth Gilbert wrote more than enough to rush to read any more that she might send out into the world, and when I read two things she said about this book I was quite sure that it would be very different and very wonderful.

“I’ve longed to write a novel about promiscuous girls whose lives are not destroyed by their sexual desires”

“My goal was to write a book that would go down like a champagne cocktail- light and bright, crisp and fun.”

I’d say that she succeeded in
Jun 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
What a delight City of Girls was! My first book by Elizabeth Gilbert (yes, seriously. I'm not sure how...) was unique, interesting and captivating. Vivian is looking back on her life and telling her story to Angela, someone whose father was acquainted with Vivian - but at the start, we are unsure how. From that point, Vivian starts at the beginning and shares the story of her life with us and oh, what a life it is! From a small theater in New York City in the 1940s where Vivian starts designing ...more
Jun 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
4 stars

"After a certain age, we are all walking around this world in bodies made of secrets and shame and sorrow and old, unhealed injuries. Our hearts grow sore and misshapen around all this pain -- yet somehow, still, we carry on."
Feb 13, 2019 rated it liked it
This was a fun read, and bursting with life. But much like Eat, Pray, Love, some parts held together better than others. The early years in NYC are vivid and the characters are alive. But the later chapters become lifeless and really feel like a retelling - detached and somewhat hollow.
Jun 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
Novel set in mid 20th Century NEW YORK

“Live your life as you wish, my peach, but don’t let it bitch up the bloody show”

Eat Pray Love (set Italy / India / Bali) by the same author was one of the novels that first inspired the concept of TripFiction “travel for the price of a book”. So it is always wonderful to engage with an author’s work several years hence.

As the book opens, Vivian Morris is narrating her story in the present day, telling someone called Angela about her life and times in New
Jun 09, 2019 rated it did not like it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jun 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2019
Really enjoyed this one. I listened to it on Audio Book. I will post my full review in a few days.
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Elizabeth Gilbert is an award-winning writer of both fiction and non-fiction. Her short story collection Pilgrims was a finalist for the PEN/Hemingway award, and her novel Stern Men was a New York Times notable book. Her 2002 book The Last American Man was a finalist for both the National Book Award and the National Book Critic’s Circle Award.

Her memoir, Eat, Pray, Love, spent 57 weeks in the #1
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“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.” 4 likes
“If you're a coward--and let's just say that you are, for the sake of argument--it means nothing. My Aunt Peg, she's an alcoholic. She can't handle drinking. It ruins her life and turns her into a mess--and do you know what that means? It means nothing. Do you think it makes her a bad person? Of course not--it's just the way she is. Alcoholism just happened to her, Frank. Things happen to people. We are the way we are--there's nothing to be done for it. My Uncle Billy--he couldn't keep a promise or stay faithful to a woman. It meant nothing. He was a wonderful person, Frank, and he was completely untrustworthy. It's just how he was. It didn't mean anything. We all still loved him.” 3 likes
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