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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 (159 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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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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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.

3 of 3 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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    3 out of 5 stars
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Fluff

Elizabeth Gilbert said it herself... she said this was a light/easy read, a summer read...and it is just that. It is very different from anything else of hers that I’ve read...and I’m not sure I’d recommend it...but I’m happy to have read her latest work.

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What a beautiful, delicious, indulgence!!

I've not been sweaped off if my feet by a story in a long while. City of Girls was a swoon worthy ride that transported me to another time. Ripe with history and sensuality.
I have to sing the praises of Blair Brown here as well. She is positively remarkable! The way she defines each character with the nuances of speech, and all those splendid accents!!!
I'm smitten.

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Gorgeous and Dramatic

I could not stop listening to this book. I was completely engrossed in the characters and their lives. The narrator is sassy and articulate in her performance. A great book and a must read for sure.

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Great audiobook

I loved the story and openness and honesty of Vivian's letter to Angela. Great read.

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  • BDC
  • 2019-07-13

Progressive and stirring

The narration is excellent... really brought this book to life.

This book explores women's sexuality through the ages with out holding back. it offers a rare glimpse of living one's life exactly as they want to, the victories of that and the heartbreak of it. The reality of the back lash when a woman owns her sexuality, it was so relatable.

The story spans the 20s into the 70s... explores "theater life" and the personalities that dared to stray from societies definition of family and create their own. It's a beautiful, heartwrenching coming of age and looking back all at the same time. Loved this book so much.

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Excellent Amazing Riveting

From the very beginning I was hooked. Beautifully written and narrated. I reached a point where all I wanted to do was listen this story. I went to bed listening to it, I listened to it in my car, and while I was walking. I loved every minute of it.

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every woman: read this book

It's a love story, without the lover and a story about lovers, without the usual suspects.

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Great summertime read

loved it! really enjoyed how it was written as a letter. enjoyed the history and accents and language and I could see the costumes and the streets and smell Manhattan. enjoyed muchly!

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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.

36 of 38 people found this review helpful

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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

45 of 48 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.

9 of 9 people found this review helpful

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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!

42 of 48 people found this review helpful

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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!

15 of 17 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.

23 of 27 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • susan r schmitz
  • 2019-07-08

Way too long

At first I was really enjoying this book, but after a few hours it became monotonous. I literally skipped over several chapters to the last two just to see how it ended and still did not feel as if I missed anything! However Blair Brown’s narration was fantastic! I would listen to her anytime!

3 of 3 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!

9 of 11 people found this review helpful

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  • avmay
  • 2019-07-08

Way too long winded.

This book was very long winded when I would have gotten the whole story by reading the last few chapters. It didn't really make sense. It was well written and the story could have been interesting - but the way it all ties together was not cohesive. Some parts of the story never finalize, and others have a really terrible closure. It had a ton of potential, and really dragged at some points through the middle, but I just kept hoping and waiting for it to come together and in the end, I was disappointed.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
  • glenda Goodwitch
  • DAYTONA BEACH, FL/Brandon, MN USA
  • 2019-07-05

Bestsellet? Why?

Perhaps it's just me but I found this book boring. I could write a book about real people I've known, real places where I 've lived as well as of great love and loss. I'm sure if I chose to do that, it would be more colorfully interesting than this one. Many people could and do write compelling and interesting books, thankfully.
The Narator is good but as I listened, I kept asking when it would get better? Where was the excitement? Surely it will get better.
Unfortunately it didn't.
So I have to ask, bestseller, really? Why?

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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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.