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City of Girls

4.10  ·  Rating details ·  36,301 ratings  ·  4,854 reviews
From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Eat, Pray, Love and The Signature of All Things, comes 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
ebook, 391 pages
Published June 4th 2019 by Riverhead Books
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Gail No, no, no! There's too much content that a child should not and could not understand. Why would a child need to read of the step by step systematic…moreNo, no, no! There's too much content that a child should not and could not understand. Why would a child need to read of the step by step systematic "removal" of a young woman's virginity which she couldn't wait to be rid of? However, bravo to any ten year old who'd read a 470 page book. Get her going on the whole ANNE OF GREEN GABLES series and let her be a child.(less)

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4.10  · 
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 ·  36,301 ratings  ·  4,854 reviews

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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 cookie-cutter musical comedies written on the fly for work ...more
Elyse Walters
Jun 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Justin Tate
Jun 18, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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.

*desperately searches for the feather boa and the good champagne glass*

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!
Umut Reviews
May 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites-2019
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
Jun 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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 chatty grandma who has vivid imagination and sarcast
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
Stephanie Nicholas
Jul 20, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorite-books
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 voice of the elderly Vivian as she recounts her vo
✨    jamieson   ✨
this sounds .. a lot like evelyn hugo

which means I'm either gonna hate it or love it (??)
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
Cathrine ☯️
4 👩🏾🦱 👩🦳 👩🏽 👩🏻

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, friendships that stand the test of time and circumstance, living and thinking outside the box,
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
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 enough.

This was an original novel, about Vivian Morr
Jun 03, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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  ·  review of another edition
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
Kristina Libby
Jan 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Jun 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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!
Julie Ehlers
Jul 07, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: free-library
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 novel takes place on the cusp of U.S. involvement i ...more
Aug 05, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I like this novel! My expectations were fairly low after reading several mixed reviews. But I was happily surprised. I enjoyed reading the entire 470 pages. The first chunk was entertaining and fun to digest - but without much substance. It flowed well and I didn't notice the length that other reviewers critiqued. The last 150 pages are the heart of the novel. As I began to care about Vivian, the whole novel shifted for me. I was sorry to leave her world!
May 05, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
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.
Julie Christine
Elizabeth Gilbert can write the pants off just about anybody. She renders the tedious gristle of historical fiction research into the sublime and meltingly tender fat of detail, seamless and rich. Her dialogue snaps, her characters crackle, her plots pop. Whether she’s writing fiction or non-fiction, she writes with such heart and joie de vivre that is impossible not to get swept up in her stories.

City of Girls holds the same charm, the same sparkling writing. With infectious brio and confidenc
Jul 26, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Dennis by: Jamie
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 could've been condensed into 300 pages of the same plot, I thi ...more
The Artisan Geek
May 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favourites
My review is up on my channel!! You can find it here: review

I had so much darn fun reading this book, honestly. Going through Vivian's 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! :)

You can find me on
Youtube | Instagram |
Jul 22, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An evocative coming-of-age retrospective full of humility, courage, compassion and forgiveness.


In 1940, Nineteen-year-old Vivian Morris had just flunked out of Vassar College during her freshman year. Her wealthy parents don’t know what to do with her, so they send her to Manhattan to live with her Aunt Peg, who owns a crumbling midtown theater called the Lily Playhouse. There Vivian is introduced to many unconventional and charismatic characters from the beautiful showgirls, to a sexy m
Jennifer Kyle
Aug 13, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: historical
4.5 Stars

I adored the author's writing and so many of the characters in this book!
Oct 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book was everything I could have possibly wanted and more.
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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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“…at some point in a woman’s life, she just gets tired of being ashamed all the time. After that, she is free to become whoever she truly is.” 40 likes
“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.” 23 likes
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