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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 (370 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

"Blair Brown delivers a superb narration of Elizabeth Gilbert's novel, which features the recollections of a 95-year-old New York seamstress who came of age during WWII. Brown's straightforward, charming depiction illuminates the vivacious young woman the wistful elderly narrator remembers, and her conversational pacing creates vibrant pictures for the listener." (AudioFile Magazine)

"With all the conversations about sexual consent, it's risen up around the #MeToo movement... This author doesn't want us to forget there's also such a thing as female desire, the main character wants to have sex and she's not shy about hunting for it." (Whoopi Goldberg, The View "Ladies Get Lit Summer Reads 2019'") 

"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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  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

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.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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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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Very good

This book wasn't what I expected but it was really good. It is definately worth reading!

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Audio performance is spot on!

The narration is wonderful, she adds emphasis, emotion, humour and accents in all the right places to bring life to the story. I would rate this higher than a 5.
The story itself is a good one with well developed characters. I didn’t find that it made me think too much but sometimes books are best when they let you just escape intl the character’s life. All around enjoyable.

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Amazing!

Wonderful story, amazing narration. This novel takes you back in time and sets a wonderfully nostalgic mood. I loved it!

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Best performance ever

I truly loved the performance of this novel. It was one of the best I’ve ever heard.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Fabulous narration

This is an epic story of one woman’s entire life beginning just before America joined the second world war and ending in present time.
It’s ostensibly epistolary fiction, but given that it’s probably at least 300 pages it seems unlikely that it would actually be a letter.
However, that said, the story is very engaging and quite brave. It takes us through many periods of history in America, New York City in particular, exposing the follies and naivety of white privilege.
The thing I love most about this book was the narration. Blair Brown is a master of inflection and accents and her immersion in the story is stunningly apparent.

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Great story

Loved the narrator. Story was intriguing and keeps your interest. I recommend you listen/read!!

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Love,love,love

Unconventional characters with lives that kept me hooked. Narration was top notch. I want Viviane to live forever.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Expected a more interesting storyline

I thought the story would be more riveting.
Although Blair Brown did a fabulous job!
I would have liked more to her story later in life as well.

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  • Amy L. Jones
  • 2019-06-24

I wanted so badly to to like it...

The performance by Blair Brown was stellar.
I wanted badly to like this story, to enjoy it and let it swallow me up like a really great audiobook can do. I have loved other Liz Gilbert books in this way - The Signature of All Things is one of my all-time favorites, for example, and of course everyone adored Eat Pray Love. However, City of Girls left something to be desired. I think, maybe, it could have been two separate stories, instead of this long and drawn out, disjointed one. In any case, I won’t stop reading your books, Liz. Anxiously awaiting whatever’s next.

11 of 11 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

82 of 90 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!

28 of 31 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Ana Del Valle Brown
  • 2019-06-13

Two books

First half is awesome. I felt like I was living vicariously through the main character in this 1940s experience.
Second half felt like a whole separate novel. Sullen.
The audible performance was excellent.

37 of 42 people found this review helpful

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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.

48 of 55 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Shannon Childers
  • 2019-06-30

There wasn’t a clear storyline...

I was intrigued by the characters and the character development but I just couldn’t find a real point to the story. It also felt segmented into two parts. They almost felt like unrelated stories. I couldn’t finish it.

15 of 17 people found this review helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 2019-06-18

The last two hours was interesting

I’m a Gilbert fan however this was my least favorite book she’s written. Some of the most interesting people in the book were dropped and we are left with a self absorbed self important protagonist. Once Frank came into the story it became interesting and thoughtful. However that was only the last two hours. I felt the best part of the story was rushed to a unsatisfying end.

15 of 17 people found this review helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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  • Live
  • 2019-07-04

Not up to expectations

This book does not live up to expectation and seems overrated. First part was ok, maybe even good. The second part was disappointing. I almost didn’t finish the book. The main character is difficult to like and the descriptions are superficial. The story lacks depth and the plot is not that interesting. I would not recommend spending time listening to this book. Find something else.

25 of 29 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Lyra
  • 2019-07-13

Meh- with unlikeable characters

I tried for a full third of the book- but the characters are not likable- the premise that it’s a letter to someone doesn’t work and the narrator seems to fit the character perfectly- but as the character isn’t very like able- well.... I tried- I really did, maybe you need to get further along than I did to find the gems.

4 of 4 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!

47 of 56 people found this review helpful

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Client d'Amazon
  • 2019-08-07

Excellent!

I've really enjoyed this novel due to the charming characters, time and writing way. To be read!

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  • Aude
  • 2019-07-11

Sensible, émouvant, captivant

Magnifique roman. Les personnages sont vrais, attachants, l’histoire de Vivian Morris est bien construite, drôle, rude et triste. On y parle de résilience, de sororité, de tolérance et de de la vie dont les coups n’épargnent personne mais qui continue et peut redevenir belle. Elisabeth Gilbert a, à nouveau, écrit un livre qui fait du bien.