City of Girls

City of Girls

Book - 2019
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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."
Publisher: New York : Riverhead Books, 2019
ISBN: 9781594634734
1594634734
Branch Call Number: FIC GILBERT 2019
Characteristics: 470 pages ; 24 cm

Opinion

From Library Staff

Adult Fiction. Gilbert (The Signature of All Things) begins her beguiling tale of an innocent young woman discovering the excitements and pleasures of 1940 New York City with a light touch, as her heroine, Vivian Morris, romps through the city. Gradually the story deepens into a psychologically k... Read More »


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w
walden20
Nov 25, 2019

A superb read!!! The author has her main character Vivian telling her own story in such a natural voice, you just want to keep on reading.

b
bette108
Nov 17, 2019

I enjoyed this book immensely, and disagree with another reviewer about the dialogue. I found the dialogue credible. The protagonist can be selfish (as the same reviewer mentioned), but I think she's also quite aware that she's had a privileged life, and went on from her childhood to carve out a life that wasn't as socially acceptable to most of her generation, even though we have lots of examples of women who did that in the 1940's and beyond. I particularly liked the breezy writing style, as well as the gems of wisdom that poke through now and then, such as "...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." I was also particularly struck by the advice on the "field of honour' - i.e., "that to become an adult, one must step into the field of honour. Everything will be expected of you...you will need to be vigilant in your principles. Sacrifices will be demanded. You will be judged. If you make mistakes, you must account for them." I thought this pointed to the growth of the protagonist's character, and lifted her out of the selfish realm.

a
abbibaranski
Nov 13, 2019

page 25

k
kdrabek
Nov 11, 2019

Gilbert has no ear for dialogue and some of the situations in the book seem contrived (unrealistic and/or implausible) and for effect. Unfortunately there are some interesting characters but one has to get past the protagonist's chronic selfishness.

a
alefiyasj_0
Nov 06, 2019

I loved the book. I just couldn't put the book down until I finished it. It was an easy read. I also suggested the book to my friend who loves reading .

t
TCCL_Adult_Fiction
Oct 30, 2019

Great book!

b
beaches4evr
Oct 25, 2019

Brilliant! I loved it! Many others who liked it---write about the character development better than I can, but it is there! Thoroughly enjoyed!

k
Kristen MERKE
Oct 07, 2019

I hated this book. It was a waste of time. A boring girl in an exciting world ruining good things because she's dumb and selfish isn't the way I'd like to spend 500 pages. There is no real plot, just us following along on Viv's self-indulgence.

e
esrobbins
Sep 29, 2019

I really enjoyed this book. A well told story about a nineteen year old girl coming of age during the 1940's in New York City. The writing is clever and funny. The story is relatable; youth, ignorance, and self absorption create the turning point in the novel. On some level, don't we all have a turning point in our lives based on either our youth, ignorance, and/or our own self absorption? As a side note: The novel made me wish I knew how to sew, just to be able to make my own clothes.

_McGeek_ Sep 26, 2019

I think the greatest gift reading can give you is greater empathy. This book is a shining example of that, and I'm not talking about just the protagonist in this case, but every character. I thought this book would be a light, fun historical fiction read and it was, but it I was surprised to learn that it was more about relationships and what shapes us to become the people we are. During the third act I thought this book would be forgettable, but it really came together in the end. My favorite character would probably have to be Nathan :)

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Kristen MERKE
Oct 07, 2019

Kristen MERKE thinks this title is suitable for 17 years and over

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