Wednesday, August 21, 2019

City of Girls; Elizabeth Gilbert

TITLE: City of Girls    
AUTHOR:  Elizabeth Gilbert
PUBLISHER: Penguin Audio
PUB. YEAR: 2019
SETTING: New York City
FORMAT:  audio (15 hours - approx.)
RATING - 3.5/5

Vivian Morris, now 89, looks back on her life in the 1940's New York City's theater district.

Vivian came from a wealthy family and attended Vassar College briefly but, she quickly realized college wasn't for her. She didn't take it seriously and was kicked out after her freshman year.  Her parents decided to send her off to Manhattan to live with Aunt Peg who had just purchased a rundown, little midtown playhouse called The Lily. Peg and her friend Olive run the place with some low budget performances, surrounded by a cast of colorful and unconventional characters: Celia, Uncle Billy, Frank and Edna. Vivian is good at sewing so she quickly becomes an asset to the playhouse team.

The entire experience gives Vivian a whole new look at freedom and self-fulfillment; it's a lifestyle that appeals to her.  She loves her freedom to be with whomever she pleases and as often as she wishes. Yes, there is plenty of talk and action when it comes to sex and booze and Vivian never feels any guilt as she looks back on those younger, wilder days.  Then there was her grave indiscretion that led to professional embarrassment and scandal. 

Vivian, however, was one of those girls who needed to experience life her own way without regard to what was considered proper at the time. This story is really all about Vivian and, Vivian loves Vivian at the cost of all else. Have we met people like Vivian? She definitely was a feminist before her time.

I loved the first half of this book, it's very long (over 15 hours on audio and beautifully narrated) I did think that after a while it began to feel a bit repetitive.  I liked the colorful world of New York's theater district in the 1940s and the characters were great as well. Each character was trying to find their place in the world. Despite a few too many cliches, overall, I felt happy I read this one.  I do think it would make a great book club pick.  


  1. I'll try one of her books one of these days.

  2. Oops, half good doesn’t quite cut it!

  3. Diane, thank you for sharing your honest thoughts. I read and enjoyed her first book, Eat Pray Love, several years ago.

  4. It sounds interesting, but I couldn't endure such a long audio version. If the characters are great and the New York theater setting interesting, I would be interested in reading it (but not listening to it). :)

  5. I love books centered in New York, I haven't read this author before.

  6. This sounds like a book I would like. NYC as a setting, and the 1940s as a timeframe, seal the deal!

  7. I've really enjoyed a couple of her books so I'm curious about this one. I like the timeframe and think I would like this one.

  8. It's dragging a little for me.

  9. I think I will pass. Though Elizabeth Gilbert will be coming to speak in Houston this year. Maybe I'll read her book then.


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