Book Review: City of Girls by Elizabeth Gilbert

Why should you read this book?

If you’re looking for a recent release perfect for your Summer vacation, look no further! That’s City of Girls by Elizabeth Gilbert!

This book tells the story of Vivian, a young woman who moves to New York City in the 1940s and starts working and living in the theater world. I have been seeing people describing this book as a love story. I didn’t see it that way. It’s a hymn to a woman’s liberation and self-discovery, above all.

What did I love about this book? Vivian, for starters. I won’t forget her any time soon. She’s annoying at times but she also felt super real. Her eccentricity was definitely a breath of fresh air. I also fell in love with how Gilbert describes the theater world (essentially the wardrobe!!!) and all the glamour and the libertine way of living. The writing is also simple and fluid, as expected.

I just thought the book could have been a little shorter and the first part was definitely better than the second. I also thought Gilbert wanted to introduce a wild, independent and strong woman but some subplots could have been removed, in my opinion. They weren’t needed to prove Vivian as such.

I truly hope Reese Witherspoon reads this book and decides to turn it into a show! It would be perfect! By the way, the audiobook was brilliant. One of the best I have ever heard!

I’d like to thank Riverhead Books for sending a review copy. You can buy the book here.



It is the summer of 1940. Nineteen-year-old Vivian Morris arrives in New York with her suitcase and sewing machine, exiled by her despairing parents. Although her quicksilver talents with a needle and commitment to mastering the perfect hair roll have been deemed insufficient for her to pass into her sophomore year of Vassar, she soon finds gainful employment as the self-appointed seamstress at the Lily Playhouse, her unconventional Aunt Peg’s charmingly disreputable Manhattan revue theatre. There, Vivian quickly becomes the toast of the showgirls, transforming the trash and tinsel only fit for the cheap seats into creations for goddesses.

Exile in New York is no exile at all: here in this strange wartime city of girls, Vivian and her girlfriends mean to drink the heady highball of life itself to the last drop. And when the legendary English actress Edna Watson comes to the Lily to star in the company’s most ambitious show ever, Vivian is entranced by the magic that follows in her wake. But there are hard lessons to be learned, and bitterly regrettable mistakes to be made. Vivian learns that to live the life she wants, she must live many lives, ceaselessly and ingeniously making them new.

`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,’ she confides. And so Vivian sets forth her story, and that of the women around her – women who have lived as they truly are, out of step with a century that could never quite keep up with them.


Book Details:

Publisher: Riverhead Books (Penguin Random House)
Published on: June 2019
Format: Hardback
Pages: 480

4 stars



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