City Of Girls by Elizabeth Gilbert

Book Review #274

Title: City Of Girls

Author: Elizabeth Gilbert

Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing

Genres: Fiction, Historical Fiction

Format: ARC, Paperback

Source: Pansing

Publication Date: June 4, 2019

Pages: 480

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.”

Beloved author Elizabeth Gilbert returns to fiction with a unique love story set in the New York City theater world during the 1940s. Told from the perspective of an older woman as she looks back on her youth with both pleasure and regret (but mostly pleasure), City of Girls explores themes of female sexuality and promiscuity, as well as the idiosyncrasies of true love.

In 1940, nineteen-year-old Vivian Morris has just been kicked out of Vassar College, owing to her lackluster freshman-year performance. Her affluent parents send her to Manhattan to live with her Aunt Peg, who owns a flamboyant, crumbling midtown theater called the Lily Playhouse. There Vivian is introduced to an entire cosmos of unconventional and charismatic characters, from the fun-chasing showgirls to a sexy male actor, a grand-dame actress, a lady-killer writer, and no-nonsense stage manager. But when Vivian makes a personal mistake that results in professional scandal, it turns her new world upside down in ways that it will take her years to fully understand. Ultimately, though, it leads her to a new understanding of the kind of life she craves – and the kind of freedom it takes to pursue it. It will also lead to the love of her life, a love that stands out from all the rest.

Now ninety-five years old and telling her story at last, Vivian recalls how the events of those years altered the course of her life – and the gusto and autonomy with which she approached it. “At some point in a woman’s life, she just gets tired of being ashamed all the time,” she muses. “After that, she is free to become whoever she truly is.” Written with a powerful wisdom about human desire and connection, City of Girls is a love story like no other.

This is a story about finding momentous discoveries in a world where the people are still close minded. It is about finding one’s true self through womanhood. It is also about making mistakes that one wishes that she didn’t commit and living through everyday of her life trying to look back and see from every angle of how she could possibly undo it. As much as she wants to, the deed has already been done and there’s nothing she can do but to live up to it and continue on with her future.

This book has a lot of things happening around Vivian Morris, a full memoir of her ups and downs of a life through the glimmering New York City in the 1940’s up to the later part of her life. But when I actually got to the point of who she was directed to, a woman named Angeles and the main purpose of why she is talking about everything of her life to her, things started to escalate by then. She had such an interesting, fun and a glamour lifestyle but it all leads up to who exactly the person she kept going on and on about. I don’t know maybe I was hoping for more but suddenly it became too mundane and I got disappointed by that.

I feel like I’ve went through a lot as I go along Vivian’s life—sad, anger, pain, heartbroken, happy and so much more. She had a really interesting life which attracted me the most. It was also during the times when it was at the peak of war and I could even follow along with the mellow of the situation.

I have to say that I’m really happy for her that she never settled down and lead a peaceful life filled with family, friends and her passion towards her work. Life is so much more than having to follow the classical route to get married and grow a family. Its not necessarily everyone’s goal towards happiness.

I feel like I’ve learned a lot about how people got to live back then and how much things have changed now. Its not a lot but there is a significance to it. I’m glad that people are growing from their timid mentality and leading for a better more open minded society. It wouldn’t always be right but that’s just how things evolve after all.


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