City of Girls (Signed Book)

City of Girls (Signed Book)

by Elizabeth Gilbert

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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.

Named a Most Anticipated Book of 2019 by, Real Simple, Buzzfeed, Cosmopolitan, GoodReads, PureWow, Vulture, The Millions and more.

"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 eighty-nine 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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780525686835
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 06/04/2019
Edition description: Signed Edition
Pages: 480
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 9.20(h) x 1.60(d)

About the Author

Elizabeth Gilbert is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Big Magic and Eat, Pray, Love, as well as several other internationally bestselling books. She has been a finalist for the National Book Award, the National Book Critics Circle Award, and the PEN/Hemingway Award. Her latest novel, The Signature of All Things, was named a best book of 2013 by The New York Times, O: The Oprah Magazine,The Washington Post, the Chicago Tribune, and The New Yorker.


Hudson Valley, New York

Date of Birth:

July 18, 1969

Place of Birth:

Waterbury, Connecticut


BA, New York University, 1991 (Political Science)

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City of Girls: A Novel 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 32 reviews.
Anonymous 6 months ago
Great story, fantastic writing, but sublime characters!
Anonymous 3 months ago
I knew I would love this book just based on the synopsis, but I didn't expect it to steal my heart in the way that it did. This book is written as a letter from 89-year-old Vivian Morris to a woman named Angela. We know from the beginning that Angela's father was someone very important to Vivian, but neither of their identities are revealed until almost the end of the book (and honestly, it took me by surprise). Vivian begins her story in the summer of 1940, when she is 19 years old and has just been kicked out of college. Having lost the approval of her traditionally conservative parents, she is sent away to New York City to live with her eccentric Aunt Peg, who owns a crumbling theater known as the Lily Playhouse. Young Vivian is thrust into the world of glamorous showgirls and raunchy show business, and she begins to live the kind of adventurous life she craves, full of sex and booze. This "chapter" of her life is detailed for the first half of the book, and while it can be quite slow-paced at times, it is never boring, and the character development is absolutely wonderful! Vivian's world is then turned upside down when she makes a professional mistake and gets herself into trouble. This is where the story gradually speeds up to present day; Vivian glosses over the next few decades of her life and the lessons she learns along the way, but never once does it seem to be too rushed. I loved every page; Vivian is a fabulous narrator and tells her story with such grace. She is hilarious and brutally honest, and in my opinion, a feminist icon. Some themes explored in her story are female sexuality and promiscuity, the hypocrisies of traditional gender roles, and what it means for a woman to live her life unapologetically and as she pleases. I loved reading about Vivian's personal growth. I found myself laughing out loud, feeling angry towards some characters, grinning from ear to ear, and fighting back tears -- all in the span of one sitting. This is historical fiction that reads like a glimmering memoir; it is so well-written and well-researched that it's easy to forget it isn't a true story. It's also full of words of wisdom. My favorite quote: "Life is both dangerous and fleeting, and thus there is no point in denying yourself pleasure or adventure while you are here. . . . 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." This was my first book by Elizabeth Gilbert, and I can safely say she has earned a new fan. The characters and story are absolutely unforgettable. This book is going straight to my shelf of favorites (and not just because the cover is gorgeous)!!
Anonymous 10 days ago
This is storytelling at it's best. There is laughter, tragedy, lessons and so much more. This would be a great movie but I dont know how it could be condensed.
Anonymous 10 days ago
Really enjoyed this book- interesting story and characters
Anonymous 17 days ago
I loved everything about the story and learning about old NY.
Anonymous 22 days ago
Great book I thoroughly enjoyed. For me the beginning seemed a bit slow but that quickly changed. I enjoyed this book and couldn't wait to finish to know how it ends. I love how progressive Vivian is. She has the best outlook on life. In fact all the characters seem to be somewhat progressive for this time period.
Anonymous 26 days ago
Fun read
Anonymous 3 months ago
Anonymous 3 months ago
Fantastic read! Could not put it down!!
Anonymous 3 months ago
Anonymous 4 months ago
I really liked the way the author had Vivian tell her story. I didn't want to stop reading this book. The characters were so interesting. Highly recommend
Anonymous 4 months ago
A page turner.
DragonNimbus 4 months ago
City of Girls is a difficult book to classify. I loved it for so many reasons - the writing was excellent, the characters fascinating and unique (I missed them after I finished reading!) and the plot entrancing. I had a hard time putting it down. The story opens with an aged Vivian Morris answering a letter from Angela. The letter was to inform Vivian of Angela's mother's death. At this time Angela wanted to know exactly what Vivian's relationship was with Angela's father. You don't get a lot of details about this as Vivian starts her story in 1940 as she leaves Vassar after flunking everything but sewing for her schoolmates. Her disgusted parents send her to Aunt Peg'in New York City, in 1940. At 19 years, Vivian has lived a privileged life so far - her one talent is that she can sew anything. This comes in handy as Peg owns the Lily - a decrepit old theater waaay off Broadway Vivi shares the apartments upstairs with the cast and crew as well as Olive, Peg's very good friend and business manager and soon becomes initiated into the life of theatre folk. . Vivian befriends Celia, a gorgeous showgirl, and is soon spending her evenings carousing the city, drinking, flirting and eventually enjoying quite a bit of sexual freedom. Peg's famous actress friend, Edna and her handsome much younger husband flee war-torn England and agrees to help Peg put on a play to pass the time. City of Girls is the musical like no other, that soon becomes a blockbuster hit with the help of Peg's play-write ex-husband. Together they class up the show, and Vivian becomes involved in sewing fabulous costumes as well as in an affair with the lead actor. She makes a terrible mistake that changes her life as well as lives of those around her but Vivi is a survivor and makes her way back into the world to create a life that makes her happy. The story is told with so much vivid description I was often surprised to come back to the 21st century. Elizabeth Gilbert did a great job conveying the glitz and glamour of 1940's New York as well as the bleak deprivation of the war era. Well known figures of the time popped up here and there as did well-known historical events. It was entertaining to see everything through through Vivian's eyes. Also unique was Vivian's sexuality and how she comes to view herself in the changing world. There were delicious descriptions of the clothes that Vivian creates as well as fabrics and fashion. Vivian's relationship with Angela's father began later in their lives and was in itself touching and captivating. City of Girls is an all around excellent book that I think anyone would enjoy! It was a privilege to read.
Anonymous 5 months ago
TUDORQUEEN 7 months ago
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 cheap to adapt to the low income residents in the immediate neighborhood. The living quarters were located above the theater, its apartments often filled with down on their luck actors, actresses and dancers. Vivian was suddenly thrust into a sparkling world of dazzling, artistic people and life-changing experiences. Some themes explored are loss of virginity, sexual hunger and prowess, and same-sex relationships at a time when it was "under the radar." Vivian was given an exquisite and spacious apartment in the building, which was actually meant for Aunt Peg's flighty actor/writer husband Billy Buell. Although they never officially divorced, Billy was living the Hollywood/playboy life clear across the country. But, that was okay. Aunt Peg had her stalwart mate Olive that oversaw everything at the theater like an army sergeant. This book lured me in from the first page with its beautiful narration by Vivian. Vivian is telling her life story to an unknown person named Angela, whom we don't get to identify until almost the end of the book. Vivian's story is told from 1940 to the present day, in epic fashion. An especially poignant and relevant time period discussed in the book is America's involvement in World War II. I was often deeply moved throughout this tome, and had a fixed vision in my head of the beautiful Vivian. The writing style was easy, flowing and the pages turned effortlessly. I highly recommend this wonderful book for a rich, quality read. Thank you to Riverhead Books / Penguin Publishing Group for an advance reader copy via Edelweiss.
Reader4102 7 months ago
This is the tale of Vivian Morris’ life after being asked to leave Vassar and being sent to Manhattan to live with her aunt Peg, the owner of the Lily Playhouse. It is told in the first person by Vivian as an aged woman looking back on her youth. The writing here is adversely affected by how Gilbert chose to relay the story, i.e., first person and written many, many years after the events. There are some wonderfully quirky characters but they are borderline stereotypical. The pacing is slow moving as Vivian describes her early days in Manhattan, but picks up as she settles into life in and around the Lily Playhouse. If you love Gilbert’s other works and tales of 1940s Manhattan, you’ll undoubtedly want to read this novel. My thanks to Riverhead and Edelweiss for an eARC.
Anonymous 8 days ago
LeeNCLD 9 days ago
TEN STARS!! Can't even tell you how good this book really was!!! You will laugh, you will cry and everything in between. This book has tremendous depth in so many ways. WHAT A GOOD STORY!!! Thank you.
thisismyeverybody 24 days ago
City of Girls has enormous buzz as a super-hot bestseller that delivers super-hot reading. And, I agree that a few sections will certainly have you longing for a good martini to sip slowly as you reminisce on your own “moments of awakening”… Hmmm… Oh, sorry… I’m back now… However, if this was all this book was… I would have forgotten it by the time I finished my nostalgic after-glow martini! Thankfully, Elizabeth Gilbert delivers much, much more. As I experienced in The Signature of All Things (an absolute masterpiece!), Ms. Gilbert has a fearless commitment to telling the truth. No matter how vulnerable, raw, or exposed it leaves the character, Elizabeth Gilbert raises her hand and says “Yes. I will take you there.” She takes out her mighty “literary machete” and bushwacks a path for all of us to follow along behind her. As I read City of Girls, I felt myself physically drawing inward as she bravely moved the character forward into the often cruel light of harsh reality. In doing so, I gratefully got to move forward with the character to learn a truth of my own self that was beyond my current threshold of courage to face so truthfully on my own. You may wonder… What could this level of reflection provide me? And, I offer… It provides the door to mercy. And, that door, my friends… It is everything. This is the treasure of City of Girls… It is a spectrum journey within the landscape of mercy. Mercy for ourselves. Mercy for others. And, as I turned the final page, I found that I had a new simple prayer to begin each day… Mercy me… Mercy you… Amen.
Anonymous 3 months ago
Both light and rolling and deep. i couldn`t put it down. Much wisdom.
Anonymous 3 months ago
Just finished reading City of Girls and I truly lived the whole story. This was my first Elizabeth Gilbert book and I loved it. There was so much to Vivian that I loved especially her uniqueness.Im not sure about all her sexcapades and it was ironic the one man she truly loved she didnt sleep with but it all came together so wonderfully in the story. Well written hard to put down again I loved it!
Anonymous 4 months ago
Anonymous 4 months ago
This was such a great story! I loved how it was told by a woman looking back on her life through a letter she wrote to Angela. I felt like she was telling this story directly to me at times. While it was a little dull at times, by the end, I did not want the story to end!
Anonymous 4 months ago
Not very much story line but relaxing read
Anonymous 5 months ago