City of Girls

City of Girls Summary


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.

"A spellbinding novel about love, freedom, and finding your own happiness." - PopSugar

"Intimate and richly sensual, razzle-dazzle with a hint of danger." -USA Today

"Pairs well with a cocktail...or two." -TheSkimm

"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.

Book Reviews


The best book I’ve read in my life!5 star

Awesome read! Page turner!55


Good book4 star

Fun book to read45


What a strange trip it’s been!5 star

Great story of life! Thank you for taking me away from the daily grind into Vivian’s wonderful life! This book was my great escape & I’m sad to be finished!55


A great read!5 star

I enjoyed this book very much. It’s a wonderful portrayal of time and place and characters. Brava!55


Wonderful book with powerful lessons for women.5 star

This book is exactly what I needed during the pandemic. It is great for fully immersing in story. The lessons in the book are something I will not forget soon.55


Best book in ages5 star

Haven’t read such a fun and beautiful book in a long time. A celebration of womanhood in all its glory but with a self effacing, intelligent and thoughtfulness that makes you fall in love with ALL (almost) the characters.55


So good5 star

Captivating! A book you just want to read.55


Great Read5 star

Great read from beginning to end!55


City of Girls5 star

Really great book told over a span of many years. Author does a great job walking the line between serious and comedic throughout. Also some REALLY funny moments and dialogue. The awkward part where she was at the Dr’s house was so funny I read the chapter twice!55

Fall thymes

City of Girls5 star

I was hooked from the beginning and found it hard to put down. The character development was rich and I liked the uniqueness of each one. It was rewarding to see Vivian’s personal growth and acceptance of herself and of others.55

Other Books by Elizabeth Gilbert

The Signature of All Things


The Signature of All Things
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Big Magic


Big Magic
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