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City of Girls

A Novel
Written by: Elizabeth Gilbert
Narrated by: Blair Brown
Length: 15 hrs and 8 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (58 ratings)

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Publisher's 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.

©2019 Elizabeth Gilbert (P)2019 Penguin Audio

What the critics say

"The perfect summer read." (Hello Giggles)

"Delightful…Terrific characters, gorgeous clothing, great one-liners, convincing wartime atmosphere, and excellent descriptions of sex…Don't miss out on her wonderful novels any longer." (Kirkus Reviews, starred review)

"Gilbert takes us to New York City in the glamorous 1940s, where the sex was plentiful and showgirls just wanted to have fun." (Oprahmag.com)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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    2 out of 5 stars
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Slow start and grating vocals

I had a hard time getting into this story- nothing grabbed me and I think it’s largely due to the narrators voice. It made me dislike the character, which was perhaps the point. The narrator was distracting and grating.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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wonderful!

I thoroughly enjoyed this novel. such an amazing story and so well told. thank-you.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Okay

This book was pretty okay to listen to. Sometimes the repetition of a point said 10 different ways was annoying but overall the story was good and the lady reading the book was amazing at keeping all the characters voices straight. Not sure I am the biggest fan of it being written like letter to someone, but the story was original. Overall I would recommend.

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Fresh, thought provoking and all together wonderful

It is rare that a book surprises you these days. It is equally unusual not to be able to predict the twists and turns of the story line. But this is exactly what Elisabeth Gilbert did in this book. And she did it so gracefully and eloquently!
I felt in love with Elizabeth Gilbert’s writing in Eat Pray Love. The City of Girls is a whole new level of love! It is love combined with deep appreciation, administration, fascination and respect!

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Loved it

This was so rich and colourful a story, so engaging and entertaining, I highly recommend it. Loved the readers voice too. A highly enjoyable experience !

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Spectacular!

The combination of Elizabeth Gilbert’s incredible writing and Blair Brown’s amazing talent for narration has created an unforgettable listening experience. Thank you.

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Sooo boring

I couldn’t get through it. Maybe it’s just a really boring one to listen to? The narrator is an older woman, doing a faux affluent voice for most of it. I made it three chapters. Cliche and boring

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A bit languid

it was an interesting premise but it was a bit long in a few parts. I didn't have to force myself to listen but not an addictive book.

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Pure magic

This book transports you to another era, and the narrator is nothing short of perfect.

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  • Gilma M. Salazar
  • Atlanta, Ga
  • 2019-06-07

Reader is amazing!

Gilbert did it again, start very light and funny and move to deeper levels of pure human behaviors, yes a lot sex!. Love it, Vivian is a carácter that you will love and know to the bone.

14 of 14 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Laura
  • Fillmore, CA, United States
  • 2019-06-05

Fun, Sexy, Smart

Elizabeth Gilbert never disappoints. She is smart and awesome. Her characters are fun, her turns of phrase and story telling made me write snippets on pieces of paper in my car. It's lush and alive and gratifying. I wish she had been the narrator. I'm excited for this launch!

33 of 36 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Anita Kristensen
  • 2019-06-08

A strong story

I don't give my devotion easily; in fact, I'm probably quite a picky reader. So it thrills me to no end to once again bestow the highest mark to Liz Gilbert for one of her books: City of Girls. I loved it! It made me cringe, and it made me cry, it made me laugh, and it made me want to move to New York City in the 1940s :) I'm so glad I got to go on this journey Liz, just like I loved the journey of The Signature of All Things.
And as Liz would say:
Onwards <3

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Art Suitcase
  • 2019-06-07

Authenticity is golden!

Elizabeth Gilbert has created a wonderful, fruitful and very juicy story of a woman’s life through thick and thin from the 1940s and up in the glorious New York City. It’s expressed through the authentic voice, thoughts and actions of a woman named Vivian—with easter-eggs, I sense, to Liz’s own life. Yet again, like with “Eat, Pray, Love”, I am inspired to continue writing my own story—but now, to include e v e r y t h i n g. Thank you!

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Beth Anderson
  • 2019-06-14

Binge Worthy

I’m newer to Audible and this was my first binge book. Gilbert writes the book as a first person narrative so it was wonderful to “hear” the protagonist rather than just read her words. I personally loved all the phases of the book for different reasons. Some parts were juicy, some harrowing, and some just beautiful. There are many one liners I rewound to hear and chuckle a few times. I listened to chapter 31 two times since finishing the book because I found the words and message to be profound.

It is a great summer read that gave me many new and multi dimensional characters to think about. Well done and satisfying!

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 2019-06-08

worth it

this is one of the best fiction books I've read in a long time. I'm not usually a fiction girl , this book is so brilliant I walked around two days strait ( even in the grocery store) listening to this wonderful story. Elizabeth Gilbert's writing never disappoints!

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 2019-06-06

Blair Brown's narration is spectacular.

Blair Brown is an accomplished actress, whose excellent reading, voices and accents give life to characters whom we might not otherwise care about.

16 of 18 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Barbara C. Thomas
  • Greensboro, NC United States
  • 2019-06-14

A nuanced portrait of womanhoood

I don’t take the time to write reviews often, but I have just finished City of Girls, and I can not recommend high enough. There is so much press about all the sex in the book, and yes, Vivian has a lot of sex, but only a few of those encounters are described, and they are written about beautifully. Our culture is still so prurient when it comes to female sexuality, so therein lies all the fuss in my view. Vivian is a complex, full of life, flawed character, who is also good and likable and deeply memorable. She undergoes a captivating maturity over the course of the book, and in the end she really knows who she is. I reveled in the arc of her growth as it just felt real and true. Lastly, the story, and this character are really important right now. I realize I crave stories about woman that push against the cultural narratives most woman still contend with daily. Gilbert has written one that is both enjoyable and deep.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Meghan
  • United States
  • 2019-06-15

Delicious Story, Beautiful Performance

There were several chapters that had me grinning from ear to ear in my car. I'm sure other commuters were wondering what was going on. The best possible word to describe this book is delicious... Imagine the best dessert you've ever eaten while sharing it with your girlfriends on a great night out!

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Katie
  • 2019-06-24

Horrible Narrator

I did not make it very far in this book before throwing in the towel, so I cannot speak to the story line. The narrator was awful. I will probably try actually reading this because the story seemed interesting.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful