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City of Girls

3.99  ·  Rating details ·  252 ratings  ·  96 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
Expected publication: June 4th 2019 by Riverhead
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Sonia Reppe No, not for all ages. There are vivid sexual scenes and adult situations.

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3.99  · 
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 ·  252 ratings  ·  96 reviews

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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
✨    jamieson   ✨
this sounds .. a lot like evelyn hugo

which means I'm either gonna hate it or love it (??)
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.
Roman Clodia
May 09, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
5-stars for the joyous first half packed with youthful hedonism and joie de vivre... 3-stars for the quieter and more sober second half, lifted by a wise narrator, depictions of independent women and a very unusual love story... = 4-stars overall. Full review to follow closer to publication.

Many thanks to Bloomsbury for an ARC via NetGalley.
Oct 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book was everything I could have possibly wanted and more.
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.
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
Susan Milrod
Jan 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Loved this novel! Looking forward to it being published so I can recommend to friends. Really wonderful
Feb 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: e-arcs
This reads like a hybrid of elements from Valley of the Dolls, Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo, and Queen of Babble and I loved it.
We begin with Vivian moving to NYC fresh off her failing out of Vassar in 1940. She is sent to live with her aunt, in her theatre The Lily. The bulk of the book is about this formative time in Vivian's life, and the characters that fill out The Lily are flawed and wonderful.
The story spans to the present as we move toward finding out who Angela is and why Vivian is wr
Jillian Doherty
Jan 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
At least 3 stories in one, Liz Gilbert has given us a sizzling new style in storytelling~

Born in 1921 Vivian shares a fully-developed narrative, of her veracious life. At 19 years old she leaves Vassar to live with her eccentric Aunt Peg in the big city.

Thrust into a life living in her aunt's flamboyant and crumbling theatre in NYC, along with a colorful cast of characters, Vivian experiences a wild and sexy, pre-war city.

A building scandal set's the stage for the stories first climax; a life c
Melissa Rochelle
Sparkling, funny, authentic.

The After Party by Anton DiSclafani The Yonahlossee Riding Camp for Girls by Anton DiSclafani Fin & Lady by Cathleen Schine The Chaperone by Laura Moriarty The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid The Complete Claudine by Colette

Thanks to the publisher for the advance reading copy.
Mar 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
I first started loving this book when the main character loses her virginity, but the most fun thing about it is rushing back to rejoin her showgirl friends at the diner to laugh about it.

This was a lot of fun in the beginning, then satisfyingly thoughtful in the end, a book that considers the wild, heedless mistakes we make when we're young and how we grow into our wisdom, and how both stages are good and necessary. It's great when you're young to be open to the world, to rush in, to engage wit
I am a huge fan of Elizabeth Gilbert--even her Instagram posts are poetic and insightful to me. Reading the description of City of Girls had me worried that I wouldn't connect as much with this one as with her others. I expected it to be frivolous and fun, which is fine for some readers but not enough to wow me. I couldn't have been more wrong!! This incredible novel not only blew me away with its perfectly timed storytelling, but the characters are developed with such depth and fine-tuned indiv ...more
The Artisan Geek
May 07, 2019 is currently reading it
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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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
Sara Snyder
Mar 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
"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."

Vivian Morris, City of Girls.

What a beautiful and vibrant story about Vivian Morris, a well-bred, 19-year-old girl from a conservative family in Clinton, NY. After being kicked out of school, she is shipped off to live with her Aunt at her run-down NYC theatre, the Lily, in 1
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.
Kimberley  Jade
May 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I received an ARC copy of this book from Bloomsbury and honestly it is one of the best books I've read all year. It's beautifully written with a whimsical, witty vibes that keeps you endlessly entertained.
The story is told by 90 something year-old Vivian as she looks back on her youth. The real story kicks off following 19 year old Vivian as she is shipped of in 1940 to go live with an eccentric aunt.
Discovering a new world of glitz, glamour, love and discovery Vivian starts to learn who she is
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
Mar 27, 2019 rated it really liked it
I won this from a Goodreads Giveaway in exchange for an honest review. Not the type of fiction I usually read but I enjoyed Elizabeth Gilbert's "Eat pray love" and am familiar with her work so I was excited to read this. She did not disappoint!
This is a female centered novel with excitement, glitz, sexiness and a lot of elements that hold attention & draw a reader in. The book is told fro, an older woman reflecting on her life and the events in it that shaped her.
The characters are vivid an
Apr 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Thoroughly enjoyed this book -- like candy, but well-written, with great characters. In 1940, Vivian Morris, a privileged rich girl, has flunked out of Vassar and for lack of anything else to do with her, gets sent to NYC to stay with her Aunt Peg, who runs a second rate theatre. Vivian's wild adventures in NYC have a lasting effect on her life.
Jodi Witherell
Apr 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
“When I was younger, I had wanted to be at the very center of all the action in New York, but I slowly came to realize that there is no one center. The center is everywhere - wherever people are living out their lives. It’s a city with a million centers.

Somehow that was even more magical to know.”

Sonia Reppe
My favorite book of 2019 so far.

Free-spirited Vivian recounts her life, focusing on her formative years starting in 1940 when she was nineteen and new to NYC, where she became the costumer for her aunt's struggling theater company, and a study of youthful abandon and recklessness. She proclaims she was only good at two things: sex and sewing; but later adds friendship to that list.

I loved the parts about the theater putting together the show, City of Girls. Colorful characters and humor! I also
May 16, 2019 rated it did not like it
May 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Gosh I really enjoyed this book from the get-go! It was vivid and decadent and funny as anything. 5 stars for the can’t-put-downness!
Carmen Slaughter
Mar 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: arc
Elizabeth Gilbert's highly successful career is largely due to her nonfiction titles but I love it when she returns to her fiction roots. City of Girls is a gorgeously written coming of age tale combined with a love letter to NYC and its place in US history. The protagonist is introspective and witty. Her growth as a feminist is presented subtly and tenderly. Readers will root for her all the way. The secondary characters are mesmerizing to the point that I would read their stories in a heartbea ...more
Mar 14, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: edelweiss
Thanks to Riverhead Books and Edelweiss for the advance review copy of Elizabeth Gilbert’s upcoming novel. I enjoyed reading it quite a lot and thought it was a well-written and captivating story. I didn’t really relate to the main character however. Late in the story, she provides an explanation of sorts for her behavior, but it seemed out of character with how I perceived her up until that point. So I found it difficult to have much empathy with her. I would still recommend the book but I thin ...more
Apr 27, 2019 rated it really liked it
So far, this is the best sort of summer book. Highly recommended. I enjoy and respect Elizabeth Gilbert, but I was concerned that I would "hear" her too much in her fiction. Not the case at all; the story sweeps you away.
Linda Smatzny
Mar 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: first-reads
A very enthralling book. The story just flows. The story starts in 1940 when the main character, Vivian Morris, flunks out of Vassar and goes to live with her aunt in New York. Vivian is from an upper middle class family with money that knows nothing except she is pretty and wants to live. The story is told in flashback after Vivian receives a letter in 2010 from the daughter of a friend. The book was a quick easy read.
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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.” 2 likes
“When women are gathered together with no men around, they don't have to be anything in particular; they can just be” 0 likes
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