City of Girls

A decadent story of promiscuity, diversion, shame, and atonement soaring through the decades in New York City, this is a mesmerizing novel about finding yourself and creating your own family.

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.

— Elizabeth Gilbert

Synopsis:

Nineteen year old Vivian Morris finds herself shipped off to New York City in 1940 to live with her Aunt Peg at the Lily Playhouse, after disappointing her parents by being kicked out of college. There, she quickly and enthusiastically immerses herself in the gawdy and glamorous life of theater, showgirls, and diversion. A poor decision has crippling effects on her status and relationships, which forces her to change her life’s course and reevaluate how she wants to live. Traversing through the decades to the present, we see Vivian’s life change in ways not unlike the city around her, as she finds courage to truly be who she is, and discovers love with someone she wouldn’t have expected.

Anyway, 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.

— Elizabeth Gilbert

Review:

This was truly a diverting read! I imagine myself sitting down to a cup of tea (probably topped with a nip of brandy) with a 95-year-old woman of great opinion and inner strength, hearing all sorts of lewd gossip and tedium about her good ol’ days. (Settle in, because this ol’ broad spins a long nearly-500 page tale.) From this older Vivian’s quick-witted point of view of the great exploits of her life…well, it all seems a bit silly and lighthearted. A lesson in not taking yourself or life too seriously. But absolutely being the person you want to be and not doing what pleases others, but doing what you please, thank you very much.

Where young Vivian is vain and naive, filling the chapters with cringe-worthy blunders of the young and careless, Old Viv is a bit more of an uncompromising sage. She looks back at her life with some embarrassment of how she was unrepentant in her vanity and lust for glamor and diversion. She had been happy to be foolish and without a care for more than her self-proclaimed self-absorption.

This is a story about history, yes, but it’s more. (The historical context is as much of the “place” as New York City is.) It’s more of a story about love for yourself and the people around you – being able to choose a family when you don’t feel like a fit in your own. It’s also a story about finding love in the least likely place, and under the most unusual circumstances.

When women are gathered together with no men around, they don’t have to be anything in particular; they can just be.

— Elizabeth Gilbert

City of Girls
by Elizabeth Gilbert
Kindle Edition, 480 pages
Published June 4th 2019 by Riverhead Books

Summary

A decadent story of promiscuity, diversion, shame, and atonement soaring through the decades in New York City, this is a mesmerizing novel about finding yourself and creating your own family. With a narrator like old-money new-ideals Vivian, this a witty romp through the city!

— Cassie
0 comments
6 likes
Prev post: A Place For UsNext post: Beartown

Related posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Subscribe

* indicates required
GoodReads
NetGalley