City of Girls is the book of the summer. It’s the newest release from bestselling author Elizabeth Gilbert, the author of Eat, Pray, Love. City of Girls is a historical fiction novel that spans over several decades.
Vivian Morris is writing a letter where she looks back at her life and tells the story of moving to New York. Her story starts in the year of 1940 and Vivian has just been asked to leave Vassar after one semester. Her parents send her up to New York City to live with her Aunt Peg. She takes up residence in her Aunt’s run-down theater and becomes the unofficial seamstress. Throughout her time in New York, she gets into as much trouble as possible owing to the fact that no one is keeping an eye on her. The book gets its title from the production the theater puts on called “The City of Girls” which is a major success for the theater.
The book is uneven as the tone of the book changes as Vivian grows up. The first half of the book is light and frothy. A delicious story of a rich under achiever who enjoys the inner workings of the theater and the night life of New York city. The second half is much heavier which is to be expected since the second half deals with the war and its impact among other serious topics. As Vivian grows up, she is weighed down by life and responsibilities.
The reader gets to see New York through different points in history. Gilbert’s use of slang from the time periods she is capturing helps to set the scene. This book imitates life in that it is messy, difficult, and real. There is no good versus evil in this book because all of the characters have both in them.
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